Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf

This volume presents a study of transnational cultural flows in the Gulf region and beyond. It combines an understanding of the region’s historical connections with the outside world and an assessment of contemporary consequences of these connections. In the context of current theoretical debates, empirical case studies are presented to demonstrate that the Gulf is not only an exporter of oil and capital, but also of culture and religion. As these travel to distant locations, they are transformed in ways not intended by those who initiated the process – at the same time, the Gulf remains an importer of labour, the latest technology, economic skills and ideas, whose roots are no longer possible to locate. Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf challenges both the definition of globalisation and transnationalism as one way processes generated mainly by the Western World and the view that transnationalism is solely a twentieth century phenomenon. The authors collected here analyse and map historical and contemporary manifestations of transnational networks within this region, linking them to wider debates on society, identity and political culture. This volume will interest students and researchers of politics, the Middle East, anthropology and transnationalism. Madawi Al-Rasheed is Professor of Anthropology of Religion at King’s College, University of London.

Transnationalism Series Editor: Steven Vertovec
University of Oxford

‘Transnationalism’ broadly refers to multiple ties and interactions linking people or institutions across the borders of nation-states. Today myriad systems of relationship, exchange and mobility function intensively and in real time while being spread across the world. New technologies, especially involving telecommunications, serve to connect such networks. Despite great distances and notwithstanding the presence of international borders (and all the laws, regulations and national narratives they represent), many forms of association have been globally intensified and now take place paradoxically in a planet-spanning yet common arena of activity. In some instances transnational forms and processes serve to speed-up or exacerbate historical patterns of activity, in others they represent arguably new forms of human interaction. Transnational practices and their consequent configurations of power are shaping the world of the twenty-first century. This book forms part of a series of volumes concerned with describing and analyzing a range of phenomena surrounding this field. Serving to ground theory and research on ‘globalization’, the Routledge book series on ‘Transnationalism’ offers the latest empirical studies and ground-breaking theoretical works on contemporary socio-economic, political and cultural processes which span international boundaries. Contributions to the series are drawn from Sociology, Economics, Anthropology, Politics, Geography, International Relations, Business Studies and Cultural Studies. The ‘Transnationalism’ series grew out of the Transnational Communities Research Programme of the Economic and Social Research Council (see It is currently associated with the Research Council’s Centre on Migration, Policy and Society located at the University of Oxford (see The series consists of two strands: Transnationalism aims to address the needs of students and teachers and these titles will be published in hardback and paperback. Titles include: Culture and Politics in the Information Age A new politics? Edited by Frank Webster Transnational Democracy Political spaces and border crossings Edited by James Anderson

Routledge Research in Transnationalism is a forum for innovative new research intended for a high-level specialist readership, and the titles will be available in hardback only. Titles include: 1 New Transnational Social Spaces International migration and transnational companies in the early 21st century Edited by Ludger Pries 2 Transnational Muslim Politics* Reimagining the Umma Peter G Mandaville 3 New Approaches to Migration? Transnational communities and the transformation of home Edited by Nadje Al-Ali and Khalid Koser 4 Work and Migration: Life and livelihoods in a globalizing world Edited by Ninna Nyberg Sorensen and Karen Fog Olwig 5 Communities across Borders New immigrants and transnational cultures Edited by Paul Kennedy and Victor Roudometof 6 Transnational Spaces Edited by Peter Jackson, Phil Crang and Claire Dwyer 7 The Media of Diaspora Edited by Karim H. Karim 8 Transnational Politics Turks and Kurds in Germany Eva Østergaard-Nielsen 9 Culture and Economy in the Indian Diaspora Edited by Bhikhu Parekh, Gurharpal Singh and Steven Vertovec 10 International Migration and Globalization Edited by Rey Koslowski

* Also available in paperback.

Yeoh and Katie Willis 13 Transnational Activism in Asia Problems of power and democracy Edited by Nicola Piper and Anders Uhlin 14 Diaspora. A. Identity and Religion New directions in theory and research Edited by Waltraud Kokot. longing and belonging among Moroccan migrant women Ruba Salih 12 State/Nation/Transnation Perspectives on transnationalism in the Asia-Pacific Edited by Brenda S. Khachig Tölölyan and Carolin Alfonso 15 Cross-Border Governance in the European Union Edited by Olivier Thomas Kramsch and Barbara Hooper 16 Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf Edited by Madawi Al-Rasheed .11 Gender in Transnationalism Home.

Transnational Connections and the Arab Gulf Edited by Madawi Al-Rasheed .

Madawi Al-Rasheed. the contributors All rights or in any information storage or retrieval system.First published 2005 by Routledge 2 Park Square. NY 10016 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group This edition published in the Taylor and Francis e-Library.eBookstore. mechanical. Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Ave. or other means. now known or hereafter invented. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN 0-203-39793-2 Master e-book ISBN ISBN 0-203-67123-6 (Adobe eReader Format) ISBN 0–415–33135–8 (Print Edition) . No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic. individual chapters.” © 2005 editorial matter and selection. without permission in writing from the publishers. Milton “To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www. 2005. Abingdon.tandf. New York. including photocopying and recording.

Contents List of illustrations List of contributors Acknowledgements Introduction: localizing the transnational and transnationalizing the local MADAWI AL-RASHEED ix xi xiii 1 PART I Historical reflections on Gulf transnationalism 1 An anational society: eastern Arabia in the Ottoman period FREDERICK ANSCOMBE 19 21 2 Mapping the transnational community: Persians and the space of the city in Bahrain.1869–1937 NELIDA FUCCARO 39 3 Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf: the case of the Safar family JAMES ONLEY 59 PART II Global and local networks 4 Dubai: global city and transnational hub ROLAND MARCHAL 91 93 . c.

viii 5 Contents The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries GAËLLE LE POTTIER 111 6 Indonesians in Saudi Arabia: religious and economic connections MATHIAS DIEDERICH 128 PART III Beyond the Arab Gulf 7 Saudi religious transnationalism in London MADAWI AL-RASHEED 147 149 8 Wahhabism in the United Kingdom: manifestations and reactions JONATHAN BIRT 168 Index 185 .

1 3.1 The Gulf in its wider geographical context 61 Tables 1.4 7. c. c.2 3. Bahrain) 3.2 Imports through Qatar.1 Bayt Safar (left).1970 (Bushehri Archive. Ahmad. Bahrain) 3. Bahrain. 1891 Known Safar spouses.4 ‘Abd al-Rasul Safar (centre) and his son. Bombay.1910 (Bushehri Archive.1865 (Bushehri Archive.1898–9 (Bushehri Archive. Bushehr. c.5 Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif (centre) – the nephew and son-in-law of Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar – seated with Major Francis Prideaux (Political Agent at Bahrain 1904–9). the Governor of Bushehr’s residence (centre). Bahrain) 3.1909 (Bushehri Archive.1 3. 1778–1900 The Safar family tree Britain’s agents in Arabia and Persia from the Safar family Britain’s munshis in Arabia and Persia from the Sharif family Birthplaces of those classified as Other – Other in the 1991 census Saudis entering the UK for short visits 1994–2000 30 65 67 74 75 152 153 . Bahrain.3 Hajji Muhammad Jafar Safar.3 3. c.2 Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar (centre) and his Arab staff. Bushehr.Illustrations Figures 3.1 7. Bahrain) 64 65 69 70 70 Map 3. c. Bahrain) 3. and the Gulf Residency headquarters (right).


She is the author of The ‘Other’ Kurds: Yazidis in Colonial Iraq (1999). Gaëlle Le Pottier holds an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies (University of Oxford). and the British in the Nineteenth Century Gulf (forthcoming) and the recipient of dissertation awards from both MESA (2001) and BRISMES (2002). Nelida Fuccaro lectures in Modern Middle Eastern History at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. His publications include Dubai: cité globale (2001) and Guerres et sociétiés: état et violence après la guerre froide (2003). She subsequently did two years of research on contemporary media in the Middle East as part of the Economic . 1750–1830 (forthcoming). He is the author of The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait. and several articles on the urban history of the Persian Gulf. University of London. politics and migration in Indonesia and migration from the Philippines to Germany. Rulers. on Islamic movements in Birmingham and London. Roland Marchal is Senior Research Fellow at CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) and CERI (Centre for International Studies and Research). Jonathan Birt is currently doing a DPhil in Social Anthropology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology. University of Oxford. His research focuses on Islam. He is the author of The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants. James Onley is Assistant Professor of History at the American University of Sharjah and an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. Paris.Contributors Frederick Anscombe is Lecturer in Contemporary History at Birkbeck College. Mathias Diederich is a wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter in South East Asian Studies at Wolfgang Goethe Universität (Frankfurt). His research focuses on wars in Africa and dimensions of subaltern globalization. Saudi Arabia and Qatar (1997) and editor of The Ottoman Balkans. which led to research on the oral history of Lebanese pre-civil war student political activism.

She has recently conducted research in Oman focusing on transnational flows and Omani heritage. Madawi Al-Rasheed is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at King’s College. A History of Saudi Arabia (2002) and Counter Narratives: History. ed. Contemporary Society and Politics in Saudi Arabia and Yemen (2003. Her books include Politics in an Arabian Oasis (1991).).xii Contributors and Social Research Council’s research programme on transnationalism and the Gulf and generated the publication of ‘Le monde de la télévision au Moyen-Orient et le rôle du Liban et des Libanais dans son evolution’. society and politics in Saudi Arabia. Iraqi Assyrian Christians in London (1998). University of London. Her research focuses on history. .

St John’s College (Oxford) provided comfortable and hospitable surroundings. . Steve Vertovec. Sharon Nagy. Director of the ESRC Transnationalism Programme. This book is based on the proceedings of the conference which took place in September 2002. I am especially appreciative of the continual support and guidance of Paul Dresch and James Piscatori. I would like to thank the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for a research grant to hold a conference on Gulf transnationalism. were extremely supportive. I am grateful for comments by Richard Tapper. Emma Newcombe. both of whom contributed to the project. Penina Webner and Gilles Kepel. These include Guido Steinberg.Acknowledgements Various people and institutions have given generous support for this project. a number of scholars participated in the conference. and its administrator. Finally. Second. Onn Winckler. Omar Noman. In addition to the contributors to this volume. I would like to thank the Department of Theology and Religious Studies (King’s College) for financial support. Peter Sluglett and Peter Clarke. First. Fatiha Dazi-Heni. Fatima al-Sayegh. Their comments and perspectives have inspired this book. Mary Starkey’s editorial assistance was tremendously helpful in the preparation of this volume. a research project funded by the ESRC. I also want to acknowledge my deep appreciation for Christa Salamandra and Gaëlle le Pottier. Abd al-Aziz al-Fahad. Moira Langston provided much-needed assistance during the organization of the conference. both have been a source of inspiration and intellectual stimulation throughout the three years in which we worked on Gulf Transnational Flows.


assertions of identity. Kuwait. the Gulf exported oil to the world and hosted multinational corporations. As such. processes of state formation and labour migration have dominated research agendas. new research based on in-depth study of internal social and political developments began to appear. and the social and economic impact of migration in the Gulf.1 In the 1990s. Bahrain.3 Gulf cities are increasingly drawn into the global economy as a result of their oil resources and the flux of labour migrants to the region. for example. expatriates amount to more than 90 per cent of the population. energy resources. under the sponsorship of local state-controlled research centres or the patronage of policy organizations based abroad. internal stability. The oil boom was also associated with the recruitment of both skilled and unskilled labour. meant that most of the early literature was based on statistical analysis conducted outside the region and short fieldwork trips. ignoring a whole range of other topics. Today the Gulf is a hub of social. The dependence of Europe. Asia and. the United Arab Emirates and Oman (known as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states) stimulated interest in these previously little-known countries. to a lesser extent. the Arab Gulf exhibits rather exceptional – some would say unique – features related to its demographic profile and labour force. the USA on the oil resources of Saudi Arabia. In the literature on the Gulf. The inaccessibility of the Gulf. staffed by an expatriate international business elite. thanks to both the determination of researchers to capture grass-root dynamics and the loosening of controls in the Gulf itself. was a feature of the Gulf population throughout the second half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. combined with the low level of indigenous expertise. Expatriate labour.2 Recent research has focused on urban development and ethnic diversity in Gulf cities.4 In Dubai. For a long time. New research is now capturing the ethnic diversity of the population. While . estimated to be over 70 per cent of the labour force in some GCC countries. local debates on globalization. Qatar. questions relating to traditional political structures. manifested in restrictions on field research. local politicized debates on this diversity and the region’s economic connections with the outside world. account for this uniqueness. political and economic networks. citizenship and heritage.Introduction Localizing the transnational and transnationalizing the local Madawi Al-Rasheed The oil boom of the 1970s was followed by an increase in academic interest in the Arab Gulf.5 The small size of the local population.

Korean and Indian). Since the 1970s. and Saudi Arabia in particular. not only in the Muslim world but among Muslims in Asia. which exceeds that of the smaller GCC states. gender imbalance in the sending societies and the emergence of social and economic inequalities associated with migration to the Gulf. which highlight dependence on foreign labour. it is usually in migration and demographic studies. legal and social restrictions on foreign workers. workers’ legal status and the future of labour migration in the region. This volume is an attempt to combine an understanding of Gulf historical connections and an assessment of contemporary consequences of these connections. social scientists focus on the contemporary manifestations of links with the outside world. Theoretical debates on globalization and transnationalism Research on the Arab Gulf is yet to contribute to the growing academic debate on globalization and transnationalism. the Arab Gulf in general. dependence on foreign labour.7 Some of the chapters in this volume look beyond the funds underlying religious connections. and local cultural and political responses to such links. and local resistance to integrating expatriate communities in GCC countries. among immigrants and diaspora societies and communities in third-world countries (Chinese. a growing interest in Gulf-based religious networks began to surface in research agendas. London. to be tolerated until the maturation of the local . Some research. Scholars have explored the impact of workers’ remittances to their home countries. When Gulf studies are mentioned. Africa. The Islamic obligation to perform the annual pilgrimage to Mecca remains one of the most obvious connections between Muslims all over the world and the sacred territory in Saudi Arabia. examining both the rationale behind them and their impact on Muslim communities abroad. Europe and the USA. These initiatives have reached out to Muslims as far as Detroit. The fact that most Gulf states consider dependence on foreign labour as an unavoidable transitional phase.6 However.2 Madawi Al-Rasheed historians trace the roots of these connections during the pre-oil period and highlight continuities and discontinuities in the region. documents aspects of these religious contacts. an approach facilitated by in-depth study of recipients of religious funding from the Gulf.8 This research remains entangled in polemics relating to the transfer of human resources to the Gulf. Some research identifies the importance of migration to the Gulf and its effect on the sending societies in Asia and the Arab world. Most existing literature on these two concepts draws on research conducted in the West (for example. in the last few decades religious contact – ranging from the transfer of religious discourse to charitable funds and the building of religious institutions abroad – has been initiated in the Gulf. Hong Kong and Jakarta. have used newly available economic resources – mainly oil revenues – to promote Islam. with Saudi Arabia playing a leading role. More recently. drawing on the available published Gulf official statistical sources on funding overseas Muslim religious and educational institutions. focusing on these issues. thanks to its oil wealth.

Introduction 3 labour force, prevents a balanced assessment of Gulf connections with the outside world.9 Local public discourse, now a regular feature of political speech, media coverage and indigenous research in the Gulf region, centres on the ‘dangers of al-awlamah (globalization)’, the ‘loss of authenticity’, and the ‘creolization of local Arab culture’, believed to be a consequence of dependence on foreign workers and increasing contact with the outside world.10 It is obvious that this debate reflects anxiety over local identity, increasingly defined as Arab.11 This is a function of the consolidation of recently created nation-states in a region where tribal identities, kinship relations and sectarian affiliation remain basic organizational principles underlying membership in the community, entitlement and responsibilities. Such local assertions are identified in anthropological literature as local manifestations of the ‘pursuit of certainty’ or ‘nostalgic resistance to globalization’.12 Others consider them a return to parochialism – itself a response to increasing cosmopolitanism and globalization – in societies where primordial identities, kinship relations, world-views and systems of knowledge are threatened by new communication technology, international commercial interests, global media and the rapid movement of ideas and people across national boundaries. Local Gulf discourse continues to portray globalization as a one-way process, describing it as both an onslaught on local tradition and an economic threat, leading to the transfer of wealth from the Gulf to the outside world.13 In the Gulf, behind the façade of the latest technology, the ultra-modern shopping malls, the mushrooming internet cafes and multinational fast-food chains, one encounters strong assertions of tradition rather than celebrations of hybridity and cosmopolitanism.14 Gulf states regularly pass legislation defining the differences between ‘nationals’ (muwatin) and ‘expatriates’. Debate tends to be heated, especially in discussions of the role of foreign domestic workers, who are placed at the heart of Gulf society, the family.15 On the surface, categories defining social boundaries seem too rigid to account for the historical and contemporary manifestations of Gulf cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, on the one hand, and ancient economic connections with the outside world, on the other. In the pre-oil era, the integration of so-called ‘foreign communities’ (for example, African slaves, Indian and Persian merchants, Zanzibaris, Baluchis, Yemenis, Hadhramis, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese Arabs and South Asians) in the economic and religious domains was remarkable, though it has not yet been fully researched.16 Distinctions between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ have assumed greater significance with the discovery of oil and the consolidation of welfare states eager to distribute lavish benefits to those who are defined as nationals, in return for loyalty.17 While empirical research in the Gulf itself is yet to inspire academic theorizing on processes of globalization and transnationalism, the region harbours an antiglobalization discourse similar to that adopted by certain groups and movements in the West, South America, Africa and Asia. That local public Gulf debates have now identified connections with the outside world as a threatening process is a function of both the magnitude and rapidity of social and economic change in


Madawi Al-Rasheed

the region. Nation building did not take place over a long historical period;18 it was only in the second half of the twentieth century – and in some countries only in the last thirty years – that political institutions, education, economic infrastructures and definitions of local heritage began to emerge in the Gulf. In the twentieth century the territorial boundaries of Gulf states reflected British interests rather than local traditions and histories in an area characterized by fluid territorial claims and shifting alliances. Today Gulf states strive to distinguish themselves not only from each other but also from a wider Arab region. In 1981, six states came together to form a regional umbrella organization, the Gulf Cooperation Council, motivated by a perceived threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iran–Iraq War.19 While the prime focus of the GCC was security in the Gulf, its activities encompassed cultural, political, social and economic cooperation. Member states propagate al-hawiyyah al-khalijiyyah (Gulf identity) as a common ‘unifying bond’, while at the same time each country within the GCC strives to consolidate a unique tradition and national culture. Not surprisingly, the newly created GCC states have had many border disputes among themselves in the last fifty years, reflecting not only the arbitrary nature of territorial claims but also the fuzziness of social and cultural boundaries between them.20 Today there is a sense of urgency behind local attempts to consolidate political structures, inculcate tradition, forge a common identity, and define the physical and social boundaries of the newly created states. This is accompanied by an equally rapid incorporation in the world economy, brought about by the oil industry. The study of Gulf connections, the subject of this volume, requires a dialogue with scholarly work in global and transnational studies,21 described as a highly fragmented emergent field, still lacking both a well-defined theoretical framework and analytical rigour.22 Given this fragmentation, some argue that the field of transnational studies runs the risk of becoming an empty vessel.23 Moreover, scholars are in disagreement over whether global or transnational processes are old or new. It is clear, however, that connections between people, regions and world economies are well documented, albeit with different terminology – for example, network analysis, world systems and social and economic history.24 What distinguishes contemporary manifestations of connectedness is the increasing speed, intensity and time–space compression brought about by postmodernity.25 The originality of the new phenomena is the ‘high intensity of the exchanges, the new modes of transacting, and the multiplication of activities that require cross-border travel and contacts on a sustained basis’.26 While the study of contemporary connections invokes terms such as globalization and transnationalism, both remain polemical and fuzzy concepts. Eriksen uses the term ‘transnational flows’ because ‘whether it is ideas or substances that flow, or both, they have origins and destinations, and flows are instigated by people’.27 The earlier concept of globalization is, however, understood to refer to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole. Robertson argues that globalization cannot be adequately defined as ‘simply the compression (or implosion) of the world as a whole into

Introduction 5 singular entity’.28 At the other end of the spectrum, it is thought of ‘as a crisis of identity, a post modern blurring of boundaries, fragmentation, and decentredness which undermines the integrity and unity of the nation state’.29 Paradoxically, globalization in the Gulf region has not produced homogeneity so much as familiarization with greater diversity and the extensive range of local cultures. By invoking ‘crisis of identities’ and ‘intensification of consciousness’, globalization (in its economic, political, cultural and social manifestations) is linked to a state of mind, a kind of awareness difficult to measure. In some instances, such definitions tend to state the obvious: that we now live in a world of regular movement, intense exposure to the other and rapid communication to the extent that it has ‘become a cliché that we live in one world’.30 The empirical studies in this volume point to assertions rather than crises of identity in the Arab Gulf. Could these assertions be signs of an identity crisis, responses to increased connections with the outside world, as a result of which people retreat into primordial ties and essentialist definitions of the self ? It is difficult to invoke a cause-and-effect argument here. Rather, highlighting historical precedents and contemporary responses and outcomes of the phenomenon will capture the complexity and diversity of responses to what we now call globalization. In this volume, the historicization of global process offers an insight into the phenomenon. Furthermore, if globalization is to be defined as a one-way process, the momentum for which lies in one geographical region (Europe or the USA), a global centre, a cosmopolitan city, the headquarter of multinational conglomerate, then Gulf realities represent a challenge to the received wisdom.31 To move away from the focus on ‘identity’ and consciousness, both of which are ambiguous sociological concepts, Robertson identifies four major components underlying modern globalization: ‘national societies, individuals, the system of international relations, and humankind’.32 Such focus links so-called global actors to concrete social and international structures. A second, more popular, term now is transnationalism, often used interchangeably with globalization. While globalization is a process from above, the concept of transnationalism embodies activities and process from below. As such, transnationalism has become ‘something to celebrate, as an expression of subversive popular resistance “from below” ’.33 It is argued that three conditions are necessary to justify the use of this new concept: ‘first, a significant proportion of persons in the relevant universe, second, their activities are not fleeting or exceptional, but possess certain stability and resilience over time and third, the content of these activities is not captured by some pre-existing concept’.34 The processes described in this volume expand the field by offering examples of transnational activities that do not necessarily encompass these three conditions, yet they represent a kind of transnationalism which is a reflection of the historical and contemporary political, economic and social structures of Gulf societies. Hannerz argues that the term transnationalism is in a way more humble, and often a more adequate label for phenomena which can be of quite variable scale and distinction, even when they do share


Madawi Al-Rasheed the characteristics of being contained within a state. In the transnational arena, the actors may now be individuals, groups, movements, business enterprises, and in no small part it is this diversity of organisation that we need to consider.35

Transnationalism assumes that ordinary people engage in conscious and successful efforts to escape control and domination ‘from above’ by capital and the state.36 This begs the question whether transnationalism is a form of resistance to the expansion of capital and structures of encapsulation generated by this expansion. The Gulf material throws light on this question. The Gulf region has ancient connections with Africa and Asia.37 The people of central Arabia and the ports of the Gulf from Kuwait to Muscat travelled to the east coast of Africa, India and the Far East as merchants and religious scholars.38 At the same time traders from these territories established merchant houses in Gulf ports, which came under British influence in the nineteenth century.39 Dates, pearls and horses were exported from Arabia to Bombay.40 They appeared in markets as far away as London and New York. At the same time, the slave trade and the flourishing slave markets of Mecca, Muscat and central Arabia, which in some Gulf countries continued unofficially until early twentieth century,41 demonstrate the magnitude of Gulf connections and the commercial activities of its population. These connections have also led to Gulf societies themselves consisting of diasporas seeking economic opportunities. Historically, economic connections (especially on the Gulf coast) and religious connections (especially in Mecca) led to the establishment of overseas diasporas in the Arabian Peninsula which reached a climax with the discovery of oil and the need for international labour. Today some of those defined as citizens in GCC countries include Indians, Persians, Baluchis, Zanzibaris, Yemenis, Javanese and Hadhramis, whose connections with the Gulf pre-date the oil boom of the 1970s.42 Such groups have been ignored in early research on the Gulf, but in recent times their histories and experiences in the Gulf have begun to attract academic attention.43 The geographical location of the Gulf between the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Europe predisposed it to become a transit station for larger commercial flows in recent times. After the 1970s oil boom, as Gulf states and actors systematically entered the global field, they operated within well-established political and international structures. With a very limited number of exceptional cases, Gulf economic transnationalism functioned under the patronage of the state.44 The actors involved promoted localized economic interests. Dubai emerged as an international trading centre under the patronage of an indigenous political leadership and commercial elite, consisting of local Arab, Indian and Persian merchant families.45 Only in the last decade have we seen the beginning of a process whereby local ‘independent actors’, for example, a growing entrepreneurial elite, is promoting commercial interests without direct state control, but with sanction from ‘above’. GCC economies are still centralized and most sectors remain under state control. In such an environment, the state controls the distribution of franchises

49 However. including the transfer of funds and religious knowledge to distant Muslim communities. namely the proliferation of Gulf-based Islamic charities and grass-root religious activism. developed by some of the contributors to this volume. Contributions by Frederick Anscombe (chapter 1). both considered important actors in transnational flows. Anscombe questions the applicability of the concept of transnationalism as . but the historicized recipients. which legitimizes state narratives while triggering off oppositional discourse among those it is meant to co-opt. Another factor complicates the scene. holidaymakers.48 With the exception of the business elite. These are often members of the Muslim and Arab diasporas in distant locations. The Gulf case demonstrates that it is not the agencies of transnationalism – both Gulf states and actors – who are predisposed to engage in ‘counter-narratives’. often members of the political elite. The unanticipated consequences of this kind of religious transnationalism have become controversial after the events of 11 September 2001. Nelida Fuccaro (chapter 2) and James Onley (chapter 3) are attempts to historicize transnationalism within the Gulf itself. students. in response to local attempts to establish political legitimacy inside GCC countries and abroad.46 These connections led to the intensification of religious debate among the recipients of Gulf religious transnationalism. GCC states engaged in religious transnationalism among Muslim minorities in the West. which do not exist in substantial numbers. allow a new kind of transnationalism. Systematic transnational connections were promoted in the religious domain. when Western policy makers and media specialists exposed links between religious transnationalism initiated in the Gulf. the Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda and terrorism. a limited number of dissidents and political activists and other transit sojourners. combined with advanced communication technologies. For example. These findings. Localizing the transnational Gulf societies have absorbed outside networks. which challenge Gulf political discourse. cultural and social settings. Gulf states encouraged religious transnationalism. economic resources.47 Today Gulf economic. point to the fact that at present Gulf transnationalism is not necessarily dependent on Gulf diasporas. economic. While some Gulf Islamic charities appear to be independent of state control. agencies and traditions within their local historical. political. citizens of the Gulf do not form immigrant communities outside the region. and the emergence of counter-narratives. cultural and religious transnationalism is a process heavily dependent on the mediation of other ‘hybrids’ and ‘Creoles’. The latter challenge Gulf political discourses and religious interpretations. It is difficult for independent actors to penetrate Gulf economies without strong connections with local government bureaucracies and important gatekeepers. the majority operate with strong support from important members of the ruling and commercial elite.Introduction 7 and licences to import labour and commodities. which in recent times has been difficult to control in the Gulf itself.

Fuccaro highlights a novel dimension in the analysis of transnationalism. Under changing socio-political circumstances. Drawing on their educational and cosmopolitan background. led to an ethnic and religious diversity in this area. Fuccaro’s conclusions are confirmed by Onley’s study of the Persianized Arab Safar merchant family. Transnational communities in Bahrain do not engage in the celebration of their ‘hybrid identities’. by Mathias Diederich) illustrates the point. He invokes the concept of an anational society to analyse how ‘transnational’ networks. Bombay and Manchester. a response to Gulf political and social contexts. members of this merchant family served the British government as political agents and assistants. Their transnational connections were of great value to the British government. people took up such jobs in return for protection. A historical approach allows us to appreciate the changing local responses of people with transnational links. people invent new categories of hybridity. Imperial encroachment was associated with increasing commercial penetration by outside forces.8 Madawi Al-Rasheed a useful tool to understand nineteenth-century eastern Arabia (Hasa). themselves belonging to a cosmopolitan imperial elite. This case study highlights the interconnections between officialdom. Successful merchant families whose genealogy lies elsewhere respond to local cultural traditions. but insist on uniformity and homogeneity under the influence of a nation-state eager to promote national consensus by overlooking external influences and internal ethnic and religious divisions. where in recent times Persian migrants have downplayed their roots in the pursuit of social and economic integration. Islamic transnationalism. Flows of people and commodities converge to contribute to the development of a multicultural society responding to local sources of authority and social legitimization. genealogy remains a charter for identity and belonging. In the Gulf context. As vulnerable merchants in the Gulf. Manamah. However. The case of Indonesians in Saudi Arabia (chapter 6. Such processes have resulted in the emergence of discourses that do not celebrate ‘hybridity’. Muscat. brought about by Ottoman imperial expansion. which brought religious scholars to the holy city of . Indonesian religious scholars residing in Mecca for generations gave themselves Arabic-sounding names to mask their ‘foreignness’. contemporary descendants downplay their transnational connections. but is also subject to reinvention and manipulation. trade and travel. namely the processes of negotiation and contestation over urban space. a region incorporated within the Ottoman empire in the 1870s. Basrah. Fuccaro discusses the meaning of transnational community in Bahrain. whose transnational connections spread across frontiers – reaching Hillah. which celebrate Arab descent as a vehicle for citizenship. which resulted in their contributions to religious scholarship remaining unrecognized. Ottoman governors. played an important role as representatives whose activities led to the consolidation of an ethnically and religiously diverse society in Hasa. which by definition undermines their integration. by localizing their transnational connections. In this volume historians point to the processes whereby localizing the transnational becomes a strategy. Bushehr. Hudaydah. Mocha.

and second. which is increasingly showing common characteristics with other successful city-states. connecting Western. values and norms beyond the Gulf. entering the transnational field. Sometimes it is difficult to argue that these traditions are anchored in a specific locality. Dubai’s political elite capitalizes on these two factors to promote the city as an international free-trading zone. the volume demonstrates processes whereby local traditions within specific Gulf historical contexts are exported to the outside world. language and tradition. Local Gulf culture is now a second commodity. itself a hub of connections. Asian. had to be localized in response to an indigenous system of signs which privileged local Arab culture. the rapid appropriation of new information and communication technologies. In the contemporary period. Its transmission is financed locally. as many of these are themselves products of interpretations and diverse influences. African and Arab economies. Transnationalizing the local To understand the complexity of Gulf transnationalism beyond the Gulf itself. Locally produced traditions undergo a transformation as they travel to other destinations. Here Dubai’s prosperity is not linked to the homogeneity of a business class. Lebanese-based media industries (satellite television. The increasing availability of Arab fadaiyyat (satellite television channels) worldwide and the growing Gulf capital involved is more likely to transnationalize local cultural products. but its scope is now . Gaëlle Le Pottier (chapter 5) examines transnational media exchanges between the Gulf and Lebanon. oil. for example Singapore. Dubai’s commercial success is especially dependent on two factors: first.Introduction 9 Mecca. advertising agencies and music and visual productions) are mostly financed by Gulf capital. but such industries continue to be geared to the tastes and demands of the Gulf consumer audience. Unlike Bahrain. a region which has so far been associated only with the export of a highly valued commodity. a country whose nationals have played a major role not only as immigrants in the Gulf but also as mediators of Gulf economic interests abroad. Localizing the transnational is a strategy adopted by the political elite to enhance the city’s commercial success. The experience of Indonesian immigrants is entangled with structures of power both at home and in the host society and socio-economic conditions. but to the diversity of the actors who engage in commercial activities. Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia face locally produced suspicion and discrimination against the background of state rhetoric which celebrates Islamic unity. The historical contributions in this volume demonstrate that invoking the ‘local’ in the Gulf is itself a problematic concept. produced by non-Gulf actors. Roland Marchal (chapter 4) examines the concept of the ‘global city’ and its usefulness in analysing the transnational connections of Dubai. the incorporation of diverse diaspora communities in the city. which reproduce vulnerability and marginality in both Indonesia and in Saudi Arabia. and promote further its role in both regional and international settings. The Gulf-financed media industry creates ‘regional markets’ for the consumption of Gulf culture.

led to schisms within the movement. can now threaten the status quo in Saudi Arabia and undermine the country’s credibility in the West. In the last decade. itself an international event. regarded by many British Muslims as detrimental to Muslim interests. At the same time. there is a retreat from the ‘threat of cultural disorder’ into the security of localized identities. As such they escape the control of those initially engaged in their promotion. but as they flow beyond these contexts they tend to develop their own momentum.e. which are themselves a product of the new locality’s social. First. political and economic conditions. and homogenized national culture. where Arab and Muslim diasporas remain eager to maintain links with a pan-Arab and panIslamic culture. represented in the activities of Gulf states which aim to enhance credibility and legitimacy not only locally but also internationally. heritage and tradition. An outcome of the Gulf War in 1991 was the politicization of theological debates and the increasing blurring of boundaries between religion and politics. such forays into the wider world can turn into embarrassment. Al-Rasheed concludes that juxtaposing the local on the transnational is a complex process not subject to the logic of a monolithic interpretation. Birt argues that the Gulf War of 1990–1. but is a function of the interaction of several factors. i. leading to international crises. Al-Rasheed highlights the dependence of such links on the mediating role of both Arab and Muslim diasporas. Here transnationalizing the local leads to unanticipated responses. increased transnationalism within the Gulf leads in some instances to asserting the authority of the state (Bahrain and Saudi Arabia). In specific contexts. Both Al-Rasheed and Birt highlight that transnationalizing the local. At worst. Through an analysis of the neoSalafi movement in Birmingham and London. which threaten to destabilize foreign policy. there are instances of transnational connections used to promote commercial and entrepreneurial activities. systematic religious connections entered the transnational field. The latter are anchored in local contexts. which not only challenge Saudi religious interpretations but also question Saudi political decisions and foreign policy on important issues.10 Madawi Al-Rasheed reaching communities in the Arab world and in the West. and among diaspora Muslims. Madawi Al-Rasheed (chapter 7) considers the consequences of transnationalizing Saudi local religious tradition in the pursuit of legitimacy. have increased over the last decade. propagating Saudi religious interpretations overseas. there are unanticipated consequences of transnational movements. who maintain close connections with Saudi Arabia through religious educational programmes and the transfer of funds from both the state and Saudi charitable organizations. especially in the post-11 September period. Three conclusions are drawn from the contributions to this volume. Divisions between those who support Saudi Arabia and those who oppose its policies. Examining Saudi religious outreach programmes in London. Second. Jonathan Birt (chapter 8) follows this line of analysis in his ethnography of British Asian Muslims. Funding religious institutions and knowledge abroad generates intense debates. benefiting a wide circle of the local political and economic elite. inter-state alliances and .

In addition. The common thread was the flows and connections within the Gulf and beyond. and the difficulties involved in delineating them as clear-cut categories. ‘global’ and ‘transnational’ are used throughout this volume. legislation.Introduction 11 contemporary international relations. which is perhaps grounded only in geography. Moreover. such structures themselves can promote global and transnational connections. especially on the part of scholars of transnationalism. Travelling cultures require travelling researchers.g. working on similar topics in the United Kingdom.50 Limited time and research funds may slow the process whereby such an endeavour becomes a methodological requirement. Asia and Africa. . according to Clifford. Those who prematurely celebrate the end of the nation-state in an age of increasing global connectedness will be disappointed. power relations and socio-economic hierarchies not easily dismantled or resisted. the Gulf material helps to revise a dichotomy. The ‘multi-sited ethnography’ is now celebrated as a genre in early twenty-first-century ethnography. and coming to terms with understanding more than one location. I hope that the text attests to the complexity of the meanings behind them. Methodology It is increasingly common practice in ethnographic research to locate data in different sites. The study of Gulf networks can sharpen the emerging theoretical literature on globalization and transnationalism. This volume has allowed project participants to share their findings with a wider circle of academics. religious. globalization and other related fields (e. Third. A monolithic model grounded in current polemics between those who generalize global economic patterns to account for other aspects of these interconnections – for example. the study of immigrants and diasporas). time. state bureaucracy. the multiplicity of definitions given to them by local actors and academics. In fact. Some researchers capitalize on new information and communication technologies to overcome practical problems. if globalization is a top-down phenomenon and transnationalism is bottom-up. the flow of social. magnitude and consequences of the phenomenon. such phenomena can either undermine internal stability in a particular country (Saudi Arabia) or create new grounds for legitimacy and new opportunities for economic and social development (Dubai). teamwork within a large research project allows several academics to address a common theme in different localities. including access. because most connections are still not free-floating. while at the same time prohibiting their full realization. Fortunately. The above conclusions point to the importance of the historical moment in which both globalization and transnationalism take place and the uniqueness of the sites we call ‘local’ and ‘global’ in our search for fixed terminology with which to grasp fluid processes. The conference on which this volume is based brought a wider circle of academics to share their findings. and political trends – and those who question their rationale does not fully encompass variations in scope. The common thread is flows and connections within the Gulf and beyond. They take place within established structures – for example. although terms such as ‘local’.

In addition to oil. ‘Transnational Connections and National Identity: Zanzibari Omanis in Muscat’. 2 The oil embargo of 1973. and ideas whose roots are no longer possible to locate. Dresch. Longva. Academic research on the Gulf followed international interest in this lesser-known part of the Arab world. Africa and Europe. See G. both physically and intellectually. I hope that this volume stimulates further research and cooperation among scholars working in a region that still assumes international significance because of its oil wealth and location at a crossroads between Asia. this volume results from an interdisciplinary dialogue not only among Gulf specialists (anthropologists. 2002). Oxford. ‘The Arabian Peninsula in Modern Times: A Historiographical Survey’. Dubai: cité globale (Paris: CNRS. scholars have been asking whether Gulf cities are truly Arab. without the actual burden of dislocation. its image as an exporter of radical theology fails to capture the complexity of transnational exchanges within and beyond the Gulf.12 Madawi Al-Rasheed This volume is an attempt to overcome the difficulties of in-depth study in several locations. While not all GCC countries are represented here. ‘Visions of the City: Urban Studies on the Gulf ’. Notes 1 G. economic skills. As these travel to distant locations. A. M. Indonesia). Walls Built on Sand: Migration. London. culture and religion. the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–8. Beauge and F. political and religious networks. Okruhlik. the Gulf is an exporter of capital. September 2001. . Birmingham. Buttner (eds). Les migrations dans le monde arabe (Paris: CNRS. the latest technology. J. the Gulf War of 1990–1 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 exposed the region to outside scrutiny. reflecting the region’s ethnic diversity. The contributors have conducted their research either in the Gulf or in settings in which Gulf transnationalism manifests itself. Equally. Al-Rasheed. the region remains an importer of immigrants. Exclusion and Society in Kuwait (Boulder: Westview. which is still a valuable commodity. 1997) ). sociologists and political scientists) but also between scholars working in different times (historians) and spaces (Lebanon. cultural. Oxford. ‘Bringing the Peninsula in from the Periphery: From Imagined Scholarship to Gendered Discourse’. R. Only a few have been able to move between the Gulf and other sites for the purpose of ethnography. Others focus on the diversity of the indigenous population (N. September 2001) and debates relating to citizenship (P. A History of Saudi Arabia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf. See M. Today the image of the Gulf as an oil-producing region does not fully capture the rapid transformations within this locality. they are transformed in ways not intended by those who initiated the process. Peterson. 1991). At the same time. Marchal. American Historical Review 96/5 (1991): 1435–49. Bringing their contributions together in one volume allows an understanding of the movement of economic. Middle East Report 27/3 (1997): 36–7. ‘Debates on Marriage and Nationality in the United Arab Emirates’. 2001). 3 Since the early 1990s. Al-Rasheed. Furthermore. paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf. Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 35/2 (2001): 175–87. Fuccaro.

paper presented at a conference on Globalization and the Gulf. manifested in bedouin poetry and material culture. Seccombe and C. the transfer of migrant remittances outside the Gulf is increasingly defined as problematic by Gulf states. pp. 5 September 2001). Yamani. 10 M. Nationals and Expatriates: Population and Labour Dilemmas of the Gulf Cooperation Council States (Reading: Ithaca Press. ‘The Gulf Rentier System?’. Piscatori. 5 Migration patterns in the Gulf are compared to those in Israel. paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf. 14 Among other things. Ingham (eds). Saudi Arabia tried to tax foreign workers. 1992). especially by the Western expatriate elite working in the country. The Pursuit of Certainty: Religion and Cultural Formulations (London: Routledge. Champion. The Paradoxical Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Momentum of Reform (London: Hurst & Co. International Migration 26/3 (1988): 267–86. in B. Economic and Demographic Consequences of Migration on Kerala’. Labour Migration to the Middle East: From Sri Lanka to the Gulf (London: Kegan Paul International. 55–66) and attempts to define heritage (S. July 2001). T. Robertson. pp. Schampers and J. 2000). Canada and Australia. O. September 2001. Exeter. J. tribal festivals – for example. ‘The Diminishing of the Gulf Rentier System? The Challenge of GCC Labour Policies in the late 1990s’. Theories of Modernity and Postmodernity (London: Sage.. See Winckler.). ‘Globalization and Heritage Revival in the Gulf: An Anthropological Look at Dubai Heritage Village’. ‘Labour Migration in the Arab Gulf States: Patterns. September 2002. and R. ‘The Challenge of Foreign Workers’. ‘Syrian Migration to the Arab Oil-Producing Countries’. Birks. Eelens. Middle Eastern Studies 33/1 (1997): 107–18.Introduction 13 4 A. See Winckler. Ouis. and K. Omanization etc. 1995). ‘UAE Newspapers and the Issue of Cultural Globalisation’. 45–61 at p. 15 The Qatar-based Al Jazeera television channel discussed foreign domestic workers in a daring programme (The Opposing Views. See Al-Rasheed. P. but its attempt was met with resistance. Immigrants and Minorities 19/2 (2000): 23–52. Trends and Prospects’. 12 W. See Al-Rasheed. is part of all GCC states’ development plans. More recently. Oxford. ‘Evading the Habits of a Life Time: The Adaptation of Hijazi Dress to the New Social Order’. Kapiszewski. Languages of Dress in the Middle East (London: Curzon. bedouin heritage and tribal culture. the janadiriyyah event in Saudi Arabia – celebrate Arab bedouin heritage. September 2001. p. It was clear from the heated debate that there were two opposing views: those who accepted domestic . Lindisfarne-Tapper and B. Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 13/3 (2002): 315–34. See also D. known as Saudization. Turner (ed. Mathew and S. O. al-Mutawa. P. this is manifested in the uniformity of dress in the Gulf (M. Zachariah. paper presented at a conference on Gulf Connections. James. 9 The indigenization of the labour force. Winckler. Khalaf. Winckler. Générations arabes: l’alchemie du nombre (Paris: Fayard. Speckmann (eds). A History of Saudi Arabia. ‘Islamization as a Strategy for Reconciliation between Modernity and Tradition: Examples from Contemporary Arab Gulf States’. Fargues. Oxford. 1990). 8 See F. International Migration 39/2 (2001): 43–71. 6 J. ‘Managing God’s Guests: The Pilgrimage and the Politics of Saudi Legitimacy’. 57. Sinclair. A History of Saudi Arabia. 268–78. O. 150. in N. ‘The Challenge of Foreign Workers in the Persian/Arabian Gulf: The Case of Oman’. which is part of its legitimacy narratives. 13 In recent years. 2003). E. pp. 11 This is manifested in the increasing number of publications on Gulf folklore. paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf. Rajan. I. Winckler. ‘Social. 2001). ‘After Nostalgia? Wilful Nostalgia and the Phases of Globalisation’. 1997). Oxford.. 7 Saudi Arabia in particular documents its aid to Muslim countries.

1985). See M. There have been regular border disputes between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Interview with Dr Abdullah al-Turki. D. see S. ‘The Study of Transnationalism: Pitfalls and Promise of an Emergent Research Field’. The Modern World System (New York: Academic Press. Harvey. Robertson. ‘A Trade Diaspora in Arabia: The Merchants of Unaiza (Qasim). Freitag and W. 169–87 at p. For opposition to globalization. at p. Hannerz. Qatar and the UAE were created in 1970. 2000). 4 April 2002. Critique 17 (2000): 49–81. p. Portes et al. Eriksen (ed. on contact between central Arabia and India. 1993). Landolt. al-Turki. Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures. Ethnic and Racial Studies 22/2 (1999): 447–62. paper presented at a conference on Gulf Connections. Europe and the People without History (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ‘After Nostalgia?’. Guarnizo and Smith. 2003). Oxford. 1850–1950’. 1996). G. Undoing Culture: Globalisation. 5. Bird et al. I. Oil Monarchies: Domestic and Security Challenges in the Arab Gulf States (New York: Council on Foreign Relations. For a review of the literature on globalization and transnationalism. and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean. Media and US Interests in the Middle East (Berkeley: University of California Press. Markovits. Traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wolf. Both Islamists and nationalists in the Gulf contribute to the debate on globalization. See F. 218. D. Vertovec.. 1750s–1960s (Leiden: Brill. L. 155. N. Scholars. ‘The Study of Transnationalism’. pp. Modern unified Oman dates to Sultan Qabus’s coup in 1970. Fuccaro. H. 3–34. p. p. p. Al-Rasheed. M. ‘The Locations of Transnationalism’. Transnationalism from Below (New Brunswick: Transaction. 3. in T. Transnational Connections: Culture. Global Change (London: Routledge. E. ‘Global and Local Cultures’. Robertson. Globalisation: Studies in Anthropology (London: Pluto Press. Postmodernism and Identity (London: Sage. al-Thaqafah al-arabiyyah fi asr al-awlamah (London: Saqi Books. 1–17. 2001). p. Portes et al. Kearney. 6. Saudi Arabia and Oman and Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Ethnic and Racial Studies 22/2 (1999): 217–37. Clarence-Smith (eds). Guarnizo (eds). U. ‘After Nostalgia?’. 169. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 . 1994). Smith and L. Epic Encounters: Culture. 1997). see al-Sharq al-awsat. G. See G. ‘The Locations of Transnationalism’. Aubin (eds). H. Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Gause III. (eds). 219. in J. For a critical but informed opinion on globalization. 219. The modern state of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932. The welfare state in the Gulf is discussed with reference to the rentier state model. C. The Global World of Indian Merchants. ‘Introduction’. Portes. 50. L. S. Wallerstein.. Smith. Featherstone. Asian Merchants and Businessmen in the Indian Ocean and the China Sea (Delhi: Oxford University Press. 1995). and M. A History of Saudi Arabia. pp. Lombard and J. Hadrami Traders. Annual Review of Anthropology 24 (1995): 547–65. Places (London: Routledge. Iran and Iraq. p. Guarnizo and P. 4. Guarnizo and M. September 2002. Steinberg. at p. ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’. 2000). Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (New York: Viking. in M. pp. 1974). p. p. 57. see H. Featherstone. at p.). Eriksen. 1989). 1998). 1999). Director of Rabitat al-Alam al-Islami (Organization of the Islamic Conference). Mintz. McAlister. 1750–1947. 12.14 Madawi Al-Rasheed workers and those who regarded them as a threat to the socialization of children and the values of the ideal Arab family. The Condition of Postmodernity (Oxford: Basil Blackwell. M. U. ‘The Study of Transnationalism’. A. People. ‘The Local and the Global: The Anthropology of Globalization and Transnationalism’. not to mention disputes with non-GCC states. T. 1982). such as Yemen. ‘Conceiving and Researching Transnationalism’.

They were given Saudi Barth.cdi. Awn. 2001. p. ‘Enslavement and Manumission in Saudi Arabia. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge. 48 C. Fuccaro. Hindu merchant families controlled revenues from the port of Muscat for the sultan. 1983). MA: Harvard University Press. Ghandour. The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq. the internet and satellite television) to reach a wide audience at home and abroad. See I. 19. Al-Rasheed. 1997). supporters of the imamate in Oman and recently Saudi Sunni Islamists. Steinberg. Another exception is Osama bin Laden. Hadhrami and Zanzibari communities for their armies and police forces. From the 1970s. but he continues to operate under state sanction. ‘The Indian Merchant Communities of Masqat’. ‘Impact of the Gulf War on Migration and Remittances in Asia and the Middle East’. See also U.Introduction 15 39 See H. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 4/1 (1981): 39–53. Qisati ma natih al-sahab al-Walid bin Talal (London: al-Rafid. Allen. London has hosted a small number of Gulf exiles. Sohar: Culture and Society in an Omani Town (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. . Awn. 41 See A. whose genealogy is rooted in Yemen. ‘Several Sites in One’. ‘Indian Merchant Communities’. Bibliography Addleton. Hutson. Similarly. Allen. 87. Critique Internationale 17 (2002): 35–43. p. 1997) for connections between the Gulf coast and India. See Al-Rasheed. 43 Al-Rasheed. 46 See Centre for Defence Information: http://www. Globalisation. Critique 11/1 (2002): 49–70 on the slave trade in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. in Oman. Notwithstanding their small numbers. Salamandra. ‘A Trade Diaspora in Arabia’. London: al-Rafid. Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. 2002). 49 Since the 1980s. International Migration 29/4 (1991): 500–21. p. Enquête sur les ONG islamiques (Paris: Flammarion. ‘Deux prédécesseurs de Ben laden’. Allen. C. Jihad humanitaire. ‘Transnational Connections and National Identity’. unpublished report. it became difficult for such groups to acquire nationality and citizenship rights in the majority of Gulf states. ESRC project on Connection and Imagery: Transnational Culture Flows and the Arab Gulf. Both Qatar and the UAE depend on Baluchi. 1745–1900 (Albany: State University of New York Press. 248. Gulf exiles resort to advanced communication technology (for example. ‘Gulf Transnationalism and Arab London’. British statistics on Gulf exiles demonstrate that only a handful of political activists asked for political asylum in the UK over the last decade. Arabia and the Gulf. ‘Urban History of Bahrain’. 1908) on Indian (Hindu. Khojah and Muslim) merchant houses in eastern Arabia. but was well integrated in Saudi Arabia. 42 In Saudi Arabia in the 1920s several Arab notables played an important role as state functionaries. Lorimer. for example Bahraini and Saudi Shi‘a.cfm. Middle Eastern Studies 34 (1986): 87–102 for the role of merchants in the UAE. 18–36. ‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society’.). 47 A. I. 1926–38’. Hannerz. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 4/1 (1981): 39–53. 40 See J. pp. Fattah. 2000. 44 Saudi al-Walid ibn Talal created an international global business as an independent actor. Qisati ma natih al-sahab al-Walid bin Talal. in Eriksen (ed. See M. 2000). A History of Saudi Arabia. ‘The Indian Merchant Communities of Masqat’. F. See C. Clifford. 50 J. 45 See F. J. G. Oman and Central Arabia (Calcutta: Government Print House. al-Sayegh.


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Barth, F. Sohar: Culture and Society in an Omani Town, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1983. Beauge, G. and Buttner, F. (eds) Les migrations dans le monde arabe, Paris: CNRS, 1991. Birks, J., Seccombe, I. and Sinclaire, C. ‘Labour Migration in the Arab Gulf States: Patterns, Trends, and Prospects’, International Migration 26/3 (1988): 267–86. Bourgey, A. ‘Les villes des émirats du Golfe sont-elles encore des villes arabes?’, in Beauge and Buttner (eds), Les migrations, pp. 69–92. Centre for Defence Information Champion, D. The Paradoxical Kingdom: Saudi Arabia and the Momentum of Reform, London: Hurst & Co., 2003. Clifford, J. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997. Crystal, J. Kuwait: The Transformation of an Oil State, Boulder: Westview, 1992. Dresch, P. ‘Debates on Marriage and Nationality in the United Arab Emirates’, paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf, Oxford, September 2001. Eelens, F., Schampers, T. and Speckmann, J. (eds) Labour Migration to the Middle East: From Sri Lanka to the Gulf, London: Kegan Paul International, 1992. Eriksen, T. H. ‘Introduction’, in T. H. Eriksen (ed.), Globalisation: Studies in Anthropology, London: Pluto Press, 2003, pp. 1–17. Fargues, P. Generations arabes: l’alchimie du nombre. Paris: Fayard, 2000. Fattah, H. The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq, Arabia and the Gulf, 1745–1900, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997. Featherstone, M. ‘Global and Local Cultures’, in J. Bird et al. (eds), Mapping the Futures: Local Cultures, Global Change, London: Routledge,1993, pp. 169–87. Featherstone, M. Undoing Culture: Globalisation, Postmodernism and Identity, London: Sage, 1995. Freitag, U. and Clarence-Smith, W. G. (eds) Hadrami Traders, Scholars, and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean, 1750s–1960s, Leiden: Brill, 1997. Fuccaro, N. ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’, Critique 17 (2000): 49–81. Fuccaro, N. ‘Visions of the City: Urban Studies on the Gulf ’, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, 35/2 (2001): 175–87. Gause, F. G. III Oil Monarchies: Domestic and Security Challenges in the Arab Gulf States, New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1994. Ghandour, A. Jihad humanitaire. Enquête sur les ONG islamiques. Paris: Flammarion, 2002. Guarnizo, L. and Smith, M. ‘The Locations of Transnationalism’, in Smith and Guarnizo (eds), Transnationalism from Below, New Brunswick: Transaction, 1998, pp. 3–34. Hannerz, U. Cultural Complexity: Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Hannerz, U. Transnational Connections: Culture, People, Places, London: Routledge, 1996. Hannerz, U. ‘Transnational Research’, in H. Russel Bernard (ed.), Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology, Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press, 1998. Hannerz, U. ‘Flows, Boundaries and Hybrids: Keywords in Transnational Anthropology’, ESRC Research Programme on Transnational Communities Working Paper no. 2, 2000. Hannerz, U. ‘Several Sites in One’, in T. H. Eriksen (ed.), Globalisation: Studies in Anthropology, London: Pluto Press, 2003, pp. 18–36. Harvey, D. The Condition of Postmodernity, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989. Hutson, A. ‘Enslavement and Manumission in Saudi Arabia, 1926–38’, Critique 11/1 (2002): 49–70.

Introduction 17
James, W. The Pursuit of Certainty: Religion and Cultural Formulations, London: Routledge, 1995. Kapiszewski, A. Nationals and Expatriates: Population and Labour Dilemmas of the Gulf Cooperation Council States, Reading: Ithaca Press, 2001. Kearney, M. ‘The Local and the Global: The Anthropology of Globalization and Transnationalism’, Annual Review of Anthropology 24 (1995): 547–65. Khalaf, S. ‘Globalization and Heritage Revival in the Gulf: An Anthropological Look at Dubai Heritage Village’, paper presented at a conference on Globalization and the Gulf, Exeter, July 2001. Khalaf, S. ‘Gulf Societies and the Image of Unlimited Good’, Dialectical Anthropology 17 (1992): 53–84. Lombard, D. and Aubin, J. (eds). Asian Merchants and Businessmen in the Indian Ocean and the China Sea, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000. Longva, A. Walls Built on Sand: Migration, Exclusion and Society in Kuwait, Boulder: Westview, 1997. Longva, A. ‘Neither Autocracy nor Democracy but Ethnocracy: Citizens, Expatriates, and Socio-political Regime in Kuwait’, paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf, Oxford, September 2001. Lorimer, J. G. Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia, 2 vols., Calcutta: Government Print House, 1908. McAlister, M. Epic Encounters: Culture, Media and US Interests in the Middle East, 1945–2000, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Marchal, R. Dubai: cité globale, Paris: CNRS, 2001. Markovits, C. The Global World of Indian Merchants, 1750–1947, Traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Mintz, S. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History, New York: Viking, 1985. al-Mutawa, M. ‘UAE Newspapers and the Issue of Cultural Globalisation’, paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf, Oxford, September 2001. Okruhlik, G. ‘Bringing the Peninsula in from the Periphery: From Imagined Scholarship to Gendered Discourse’, Middle East Report 27/3 (1997): 36–7. Okruhlik, G. and Conge, P. ‘National Autonomy, Labour Migration and Political Crisis: Yemen and Saudi Arabia’, Middle East Journal 51/4 (1997): 554–65. Ouis, P. ‘Islamization as Strategy for Reconciliation between Modernity and Tradition: Examples from Contemporary Arab Gulf States’, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations 13/3 (2002): 315–34. Peterson, J. ‘The Arabian Peninsula in Modern Times: A Historiographical Survey’, American Historical Review 96/5 (1991): 1435–49. Piscatori, J. ‘Managing God’s Guests: The Pilgrimage and the Politics of Saudi Legitimacy’, paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf, Oxford, September 2001. Portes, A., Guarnizo, L. and Landolt, P. ‘The Study of Transnationalism: Pitfalls and Promise of an Emergent Research Field’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 22/2 (1999): 217–37. Al-Rasheed, M. ‘Transnational Connections and National Identity: Zanzibari Omanis in Muscat’, paper presented at a conference on Connections and Identities: Understandings of the Arab Gulf, Oxford, September 2001. Al-Rasheed, M. ‘Deux prédécesseurs de Ben Laden’, Critique Internationale 17 (2002): 35–43. Al-Rasheed, M. A History of Saudi Arabia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.


Madawi Al-Rasheed

Robertson, R. ‘After Nostalgia? Wilful Nostalgia and the Phases of Globalisation’, in B. Turner (ed.), Theories of Modernity and Postmodernity, London: Sage, 1990, pp. 45–61. Salamandra, C. ‘Gulf Transnationalism and Arab London’, unpublished report, ESRC project on Connection and Imagery: Transnational Culture Flows and the Arab Gulf, 2001. al-Sayegh, F. ‘Merchants’ Role in Changing Society’, Middle Eastern Studies 34 (1986): 87–102. al-Sharq al-awsat al-awlamah wa al-ilam, 4 April 2002. Smith, M. and Guarnizo, L. (eds) Transnationalism from Below, New Brunswick: Transaction, 1998. Steinberg, G. ‘A Trade Diaspora in Arabia: The Merchants of Unaiza (Qasim), 1850–1950’, paper presented at a conference on Gulf Connections, Oxford, September 2002. al-Turki, H. al-Thaqafah al-arabiyyah fi asr al-awlamah, London: Saqi Books, 1999. Vertovec, S. ‘Conceiving and Researching Transnationalism’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 22/2 (1999): 447–62. Wallerstein, I. The Modern World System, New York: Academic Press, 1974. Winckler, O. ‘The Challenge of Foreign Workers in the Persian/Arabian Gulf: The Case of Oman’, Immigrants and Minorities 19/2 (2000): 23–52. Winckler, O. ‘The Diminishing of the Gulf Rentier System? The Challenge of GCC Labour Policies in the Late 1990s’, paper presented at a conference on Gulf Connections, Oxford, September 2002. Winckler, O. ‘Syrian Migration to the Arab Oil-Producing Countries’, Middle Eastern Studies 33/1 (1997): 107–18. Wolf, E. Europe and the People without History, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1982. Yamani, M. ‘Evading the Habits of a Life Time: The Adaptation of Hijazi Dress to the New Social Order’, in N. Lindisfarne-Tapper and B. Ingham (eds), Languages of Dress in the Middle East, London: Curzon, 1997, pp. 55–66. Zachariah, K., Mathew, E. and Rajan, S. ‘Social, Economic and Demographic Consequences of Migration on Kerala’, International Migration 39/2 (2001): 43–71.

Part I

Historical reflections on Gulf transnationalism


It is difficult to imagine such a society in the contemporary world. or anything similar) in the hierarchy of allegiances. To some degree regular lectures by a critical mass of preachers can be an effective substitute means of incorporating people into the imagined group. thus. With exposure to the new creed of nationalism and to the mechanisms of its propagation severely limited. religious faith held firmly to its venerable place in the overall hierarchy of identities among the population. That the anti-nationalist Ottoman empire itself had not become a truly secular state. only reinforced this aspect of Arabian society. communities. religion. in effect. Saudi. as happened most notably in the pre-national age in keeping alive for centuries the idea of the community of believers in the three great monotheistic faiths. or imaginable. were naturally those that came from each person’s daily experiences: blood ties of clan and tribe. These are basic tools needed to spread. so dominant has the ideal of the ‘nation’ become in the global political system. The propagation of such an odd belief demands the extension of literacy and common access to schooling according to a standard curriculum. defined through the well-developed. the residents of Hasa. an anational society. but ties of blood. however. because the term implies the existence of ‘national’ sentiments and barriers which must be overcome. This was. As is the case with any population. nation-building propaganda. Eastern Arabia in the late Ottoman period was a land of the latter type of imagined. .1 An anational society Eastern Arabia in the Ottoman period Frederick F. among other things. Anscombe To label eastern Arabian society of the late nineteenth century as ‘transnational’ would be rather misleading. economic pursuit and locality generally came far above nationality (whether Arab. large group of people. If any such identities and limits existed in that place and time. the vast majority of whom will never meet each other. in spite of decades of modernization schemes. and who in most cases supposedly share a history or descent of which none can claim any personal experience. No genetic code impels anyone to believe that his well-being depends upon that of a specific. in order to persuade the initiates to discover and adopt the principles of the community.2 The strongest elements of identity in eastern Arabia. they were neither widespread nor deeply rooted. Yet it is easy to ignore today the degree to which full membership in the ‘imagined community’1 of any nation depends upon learned behaviour. Qatar and Kuwait carried an array of identities.

The examination of Arabian society presented here draws heavily upon an unusual.3 Trade. and locale. Said Pasha. based upon commercial partnerships and the quasi-guild structure of trades. Oman. economic activity. raising revenues and preventing the extension of European. as well as to Najd in the Arabian interior. Bahrain. This is hardly surprising.5 This file details charges of official misconduct levelled by the military commander of Necd. such a choice should not suggest that Arabian society was thoroughly atomized. Growing Ottoman concerns about security threats eventually led the government to play a more intrusive role in trade. . Baluchistan and India. be it a village. Iran. Anscombe arcane lore of genealogy. Under the Ottoman flag. around 1900. the population of eastern Arabia increased in religious and ethnic diversity. the population faced growing difficulties in maintaining their meaningful links to other lands. the Ottoman administration permitted free movement within the bounds of the empire and generally allowed the inhabitants of Arabia to maintain their strong ties with lands and peoples throughout the region – lands and peoples which have since been transformed into foreign states and nations. The routine records kept by the administrators of the sancak (sub-province) of Necd4 (which comprised Hasa and Qatar) unfortunately have not survived or are not readily accessible. economic or political patronage. a quarter in Hufuf or a port town such as Qatif. the Red Sea. in particular. East Africa. Since those interests in eastern Arabia were relatively limited (maintaining peace in the province. which had survived for six centuries by applying to imperial interests resources offered by each segment of its extraordinarily varied population. because issues of parochial importance were naturally addressed at the local level. but the documents nevertheless rarely give more than occasional hints about the minutiae of daily life in ordinary society (although references to trade matters are a little less uncommon). While it would be preferable to avoid use of the term ‘transnational’ on these specific grounds. and towards the end of the Ottoman period in Arabia. however. bulky dossier preserved in the Istanbul archives. bonds of social. Such diversity was indeed practically inevitable in any territory incorporated directly into the Ottoman system. Iranian and Wahhabi influence). as imperial rule brought both officials and fortune-seekers from afar. against the mutasarrıf (sancak governor). Abdülhamid Bey. Sketches of society Ottoman records in Istanbul provide the most detailed information available about many facets of eastern Arabian history in the pre-First World War period. This paucity of documentation gives those few sources that are available an extraordinary value. Among these various bases of identity there was little need or room for the national – and hence no place for transnationalism. bound eastern Arabia to Iraq. These old ties would then be hard pressed to survive intact the growing global dominance of the nation-state system after the First World War.22 Frederick F. insular or insulated.

the majority of the villagers living outside Hufuf and Mubarraz were either Shi‘a or Hanafi. Yet. thereby increasing the ability of bedouin tribes to defy government attempts to keep the peace. This got him into trouble on occasion. more interesting for the purpose of sketching the obscure outlines of society were identifications by place of origin and religion.7 Even those aware of the continued existence of a significant Shi‘a population in the Eastern Province would probably not know of any further significant religious divisions or classifications within the population. The Istanbul dossier. however. In the towns. A native of Mosul. society appeared to have a relatively cosmopolitan.An anational society 23 Said Pasha had twice served as mutasarrıf of Necd before this unfortunate tour of duty. and in a number of Anatolian provinces over the course of five decades. even well-read members of the general public today would be surprised to hear that the people were not always (and indeed are still not) monolithically Wahhabi (as the followers of the Sa‘udi form of extreme Hanbalism are termed). The overwhelming majority of people in Qatif were Shi‘a. he had held a series of posts elsewhere in Basrah and Baghdad provinces. as were many in and around Hufuf. According to Midhat. however.6 He seems to have done well in most of these positions. settled was one obvious marker of differentiation in society. His previous appointment to Necd had ended in dismissal on charges of maladministration. Said was something of a relic from an earlier age. While bedouin vs. Lesser charges included nepotism. and he had also had extensive administrative experience in other districts. visited the region following its reconquest in 1871. paled in comparison to the detailed accusations made by Abdülhamid Bey in 1900. tampering with the justice system and malfeasance in taxation. in the Ottoman period. schooled in a medrese. an Ottoman official who was not completely averse to ignoring administrative rules in situations where they seemed to offer little practical benefit. the . and that he had divulged state secrets to Qasim al-Thani. ecumenical flavour. fluent in Arabic. Those vague charges. in Hawran. Turkish and Persian. the troublesome administrator of the Qatar district. includes material related to the investigation of all allegations. These could be considered lesser issues only because they did not immediately threaten the state’s ability to keep both unruly tribes and such external threats as the British at bay. Within these papers lie hints of variegations present in society and in relations between different groups and the government. as those provincial officials who made the charges failed to deliver any meaningful evidence of harm done.8 When Midhat Pasha. Among the charges the most serious were that Said had permitted gunsmugglers to flourish. the two main oasis areas of the Necd sancak. but he was subsequently vindicated. however. Religious groups On the topic of religion in what is now Saudi Arabia. the vali of Baghdad and the driving force behind the Ottoman reoccupation of eastern Arabia. he noted for Istanbul’s benefit the religious make-up of Hufuf–Mubarraz and Qatif.

Several Hanbali shop-owners and porters from Hufuf were also among those interviewed. it is notable that his reference to the judge as a ‘Wahhabi’ seemed to arouse so little official interest. Their employer.24 Frederick F. Abdülhamid Bey. perhaps having come initially as government employees. but also for madhhab. One reason why Hasa’s accounts were so muddled in the early 1880s. Some of those questioned. hints of the general accuracy of his report are found in the Said Pasha investigation records. That other members of the Alusi family were known not to have overclose dependence upon. or allegiance to. the customs collector himself. Several agents of the customs tax collector. was that the sancak’s paymaster kept his records in Hebrew. as were his partner and his chief assistant. Ali Mansur – perhaps a significant change from the pre-Ottoman Wahhabi period. including some who added a distinctly new flavour to society. Seyyid Mehmed Sabit. with a few Wahhabis remaining after the Sa‘udi withdrawal. were Shafi’is from Hufuf. A certain Yahudi Hoca Davud Santub from Baghdad owned a bakery which ¸ . The shaykh of one village north of Hufuf was also a Ja‘fari. even if he were indeed salafi or Hanbali. Said Pasha’s accuser.14 At least a few Jews lived in Hufuf by the end of the 1870s.16 The Jewish community formed a fairly recognizable and distinct group.9 While Midhat seems to have exaggerated the presence of Hanafis in order to stress the potential natural linkages between the Ottoman government and the Hasawi population. moreover. which indeed produced several noted salafi ‘ulama’ in this era. claimed that the judge in Hufuf under Said. although they did ask about other affairs involving the judge. they did not raise this point. was a Ja‘fari Shi‘i from Qatif.12 Whether Abdülhamid’s allegation was accurate or not. most having moved from Baghdad.13 Ottoman rule in Hasa brought not just judges and other officials from distant lands. in particular those of modest status. while the shaykh of another east of the town was a Maliki. Mehmed Sabit was a member of the Alusi family of Baghdad. it encouraged immigration by foreign fortune-seekers. while also certainly having little reason to trust the Wahhabis. was a Wahhabi. an ad hoc council of local officials interrogated a number of Ottoman officers and Hasawi civilians. Perhaps this relaxed attitude resulted from the apparently minimal Wahhabi–Sa‘udi threat to Ottoman authority at the time. seems to have tolerated them to a surprising degree. for example. that there might have been collusion in the gun-smuggling between a Hanbali merchant and the Shi‘i customs collector.15 At the end of the nineteenth century some 34 Jews had settled in Hasa. when the strict Hanbali Sa‘udis appear to have made life very difficult for Hasa’s Shi‘a. place of residence and employment. while another agent was a Maliki from the same town. ignorant of both the shari‘ah and Ottoman secular law. Anscombe majority were Hanafi. When officers questioned Said formally about Abdülhamid’s charges. which effectively prevented any auditor from checking them without his assistance. the Sa‘udis may also have aided Mehmed Sabit’s reputation.10 In its investigation of a case of smuggling guns from Qatar. Shafi‘i or Maliki. for example. were asked not just for name.11 The Ottoman government itself. but it nevertheless appeared to fit well into Ottoman Hasa’s society. The investigators seem to have had some suspicion.

it seems that Davud in this case was acting as the spokesman and protector of the Jews of Hufuf. on 8 December 1899. In addition to the various religious groups that were represented among the permanent residents of Hasa. but he also had won the iltizam. who had been arrested the previous night for threatening with a revolver the watchmen who had refused to open one of Hufuf ’s gates for them after hours. Davud thought (mistakenly) that ‘Abdullah had killed another member of the Jewish community who had disappeared that day shortly after being seen with ‘Abdullah. This in itself gave him a high profile in the community. there were of course followers of other religious traditions who visited eastern Arabia for shorter periods. who bore the unlikely name of Yahudi Murad. Another person from whom one could get alcohol was the local meyhaneci. also members of the Jewish community. or tax-farming right.18 It was an overreaction to a fairly ordinary occurrence. Occasionally Ottoman officials sent rather vague warnings to Istanbul that Christian missionaries. but perhaps Davud was influenced by the disappearance of two of his bakery employees. the property had since entered clearly into a state of decay.An anational society 25 supplied the troops in Hufuf with bread – and may well have been one of the places in the town where those so inclined might find a drink.19 Be that as it may. His followers included not just four or five other Jews but also a sergeant of the gendarmerie. The most important of these would be the Hindu and Zoroastrian traders from India who tried to establish communities on the Arabian side of the Gulf. in the old tribal tradition.21 In this case of Davud Santub’s bakery. both local and foreign born. were at work along Arabia’s coast. however. however.00 a. Perhaps more eye-opening than this evidence of a thriving Jewish community in what is considered a bastion of conservative Islam is a hint of some Christian presence in Hufuf. in which he employed at least several other Jews.22 Other visitors may have included Zaydi Shi‘a .20 The absence of such records is lamentable.m. They had their longest-lasting success in Bahrain. and Davud was demanding blood for blood. but his public life apparently extended beyond taxation. Said’s administration allowed Davud to seize and develop it. but those claims generally could be attributed to officials’ desire to catch Istanbul’s attention by raising such a sensitive topic.17 Davud Santub. indeed. because this evidence of a Christian presence in Hufuf in the 1870s is both unexpected and intriguing. calling literally for blood. backed by the British in India. was the leading figure among Hasa’s Jews. Davud Santub built his bread bakery on the property of a ¸ certain Christian (Armenian?) named Altun. because Altun had no heirs. Not only ¸ did he own the bakery. we have less ¸ suspect evidence that. to collect excise and other taxes during the year preceding the gun-smuggling incident. and the local administration had no relevant records on it. Hasa was not completely isolated from contact with Christianity. but for a time Indian traders attempted to maintain residences in Qatif. Doha and other ports on the mainland where the pearl trade flourished. who had died some twenty years earlier. ‘Abdullah Abu Julayja. At 3. Davud reportedly appeared with a group of men outside the house of a perfumer and merchant.

and that the population of eastern Arabia included a significant number of slaves. which served as a court of first instance. who had procured her some eighteen years earlier. did come often from distant lands in this pre-national age. he was implicated by the presence of his black slave. there existed other paths of contact between native-born Hasawis and other Muslims who. She claimed that they had recently begun to abuse her most foully. She had been the property of the late müdir of the town of Mubarraz. It has long been known that Ottoman efforts to end slavery and the slave-trade in the empire in the nineteenth century did not extend with much vigour to the Arabian territories. who reportedly sent emissaries to establish contacts among the leaders of Qatif ’s Ja‘fari Shi‘a community during the early twentieth century.24 It is surprising. During his interrogation. she continued to work for his three sons. which suggests that he perhaps had been enslaved as a child. and she asked the government for help. but Said had just given him his freedom. opposite Yemen on the Red ¸ Sea. Surur denied all knowledge of them. in accordance with rules on African slave-girls/concubines issued by Istanbul in an imperial decree. He had come to Arabia as Said Pasha’s slave. A female slave or concubine born in Habes . during the crucial hours in which the recently discovered contraband weapons disappeared. he was asked not only to identify himself but to define his relationship to Said Pasha. they were reinforced regularly by trade contacts and. trade. in the case of the Zaydis. petitioned the government for aid. Ali Mansur. Surur claimed to be 27 years old but had no idea of his father’s name. although he now worked as a salaried secretary to the excise tax mültezim. however. through the hajj to the Hijaz. Surur. Anscombe from Yemen.26 .23 Although such politically charged contacts were no doubt of relatively limited scope. One of the largest foreign-born groups in Hasa was one that often tended to be overlooked: slaves. or irade – a decision with which Said seemed perfectly comfortable. however. when the Ottoman government faced determined resistance to its administration in Yemen. Following his death during a fight in Qatar. The administrative council of Necd.26 Frederick F. never to be seen again. although perhaps not differentiated by any significant divide of religion. both in the Hijaz and in eastern Arabia. When asked about the guns. to discover that Ottoman officials themselves owned slaves. He continued to live in Said’s house. The hajj was the most obvious route to contact with other Muslims. In the gun-smuggling incident that led to Said Pasha’s dismissal from office. the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Geographic horizons of society Throughout the Ottoman period. In addition to the hajj. declared her a free woman. travel and officialdom offered frequent opportunities for Hasawis to maintain a network of links to peoples and lands bordering the Gulf. primarily of African origin. through which pilgrims passed from the east on their way overland to Mecca.25 That Said knew of the empire’s efforts to restrict slavery is shown in another case.

27 and in 1899 one such hajji brought back two female slaves. the sancak of Necd was incorporated into either the Baghdad or the Basrah province throughout its time under direct Ottoman rule. a position which existed only on paper.29 The Habes i slave-woman. First. The greatest number of both high. 250 riyals (c. Hasawi society itself was no doubt changing. Before the man departed for the Hijaz. Said disputed Abdülhamid’s charge of getting the girl without paying. Basrah and Mosul (which for reasons of brevity we can call collectively Iraq). Hasawis who went on pilgrimage often bought goods in the Hijaz to sell upon their return. when tribal levies sent from Muntafiq in Iraq to put down a revolt in Hufuf carried off daughters of townspeople to be concubines. as indeed happened in 1874. from those of great importance.50).An anational society 27 Yet Said himself continued to participate in the active slave-trade which survived throughout Arabia. Abdülhamid Bey. which was headquartered in Baghdad and drew most of its troops from Iraq. Said Pasha had commissioned him to bring back a slave-girl. volunteer gendarmes tended to stay for open-ended tours of duty. There were two good reasons for this predominance. which might not have been radically different from those found in Mosul during his youth. estimated to be worth approxi¸ mately £36. local importance (such as Halaf Efendi. as in other ways. who was thrown in prison for attempted burglary. unlike .30 Yet the presence of slaves and former slaves born in distant lands was so common that it stirred little comment. and the provincial capitals had many of their own locally recruited men who could fill positions.£22. and then served as chief secretary on the Necd court of appeals31). who before 1893 was müdir of ‘Udayd in Qatar. must have been quite valuable by comparison. In this. a Tayy tribesman from Basrah. whose owner was a poor.32 Once sent to Hasa. later accused the mutasarrıf of trying to cheat the hajji of the price of the slave. Said Pasha’s nemesis. even though it was considered to be rather high for the slave in question. The second reason for the common presence of Iraqis in Hasa was that the military detachments in Arabia were part of the Sixth Army Corps. but he readily admitted to having bought her for the price demanded. The taking of slaves from any sector of eastern Arabia’s native population would arouse strong emotions. to those of much more modest. because from the early 1870s it relied heavily on Kurdish recruits. The Necd gendarmerie was a particularly interesting organization. such as that of judge (the Baghdadi Seyyid Mehmed Sabit). even when the highest local representatives of the state condoned or participated in a practice which the government was trying to restrict. either on Said’s own behalf or at the wish of a member of his family. unemployed former servant of the judge Mehmed Sabit. becoming accustomed to the practices and attitudes of a constant stream of officials coming from other Ottoman provinces. who were deemed more reliable than the Afghans and Baluchis who dominated the Basrah gendarmerie. which might explain why the deceased owner’s sons were so upset over the court’s award of manumission. Said seemed able to adjust easily to Hasawi practices.and low-level government representatives appear to have come from the provinces of Baghdad.28 That slave concubines were very common and thus relatively inexpensive seems to be confirmed by a case involving another concubine.

He did not last long in Hasa but. Future bureaucrats received a ‘modern’ education which was much more ‘worldly’ than that offered in traditional schools.34 Although Ottoman rule thus brought an influx of people from Iraq. while he was there. and had held civil and military appointments in Sivas. Whereas the civil officers of the state in Arabia inevitably had continuing contact with a wide array of Hasawis. however. for example. Their policing duties. of which nationalism was the most noted example. it might be imagined that the military men coming from other parts of the empire lived in relative isolation from the local populace. they did not enjoy any monopoly on postings to Hasa. as in the case of Said Pasha. Some of this cosmopolitan training and outlook had to affect the local populations with which civil officials dealt every day. for instance. In 1876. and were then dispatched to every province to apply newly standardized laws and regulations. as the 25 years served there by one officer involved in the Said–Abdülhamid dispute attests. The nineteenth-century reform programmes undertaken to stave off imperial collapse under external pressure and internal ferment attacked particularism and provincial isolationism. He was dismissed from practically every post. Baluchis and other ‘unreliable’ types from Basrah managed to find a place in the Necd gendarmerie. Anscombe the drafted soldiers of the regular army.28 Frederick F. entered government service. but there were indeed ample opportunities for interaction. since they weakened the central state and created fresh opportunities for foreign intrigue and dangerous domestic -isms. Syria and Yemen before arriving in Hasa. brought them into regular contact with the trading . Both government service and the experience of living under Ottoman administration promoted a certain cosmopolitanism in officials and provincial populations alike. At least a few of the Afghans. whose name and rank suggests that Kurds were continuing to volunteer for service in Hasa 30 years after the re-establishment of Ottoman control. Anatolia and the Balkans. a British naval officer met a gendarmerie sergeant in Doha who was a native of Peshawar. he no doubt brought a wealth of foreign experiences and attitudes with him. moving from the Balkans to Anatolia to Lebanon. For a few of these there is indisputable · information available regarding birthplace and career.35 Among civil officials a number came to Hasa from posts elsewhere in the Mediterranean and Red Sea Arab provinces. where he sharpened his command of Arabic. The most promising students from throughout the empire completed their studies in the elite schools of Istanbul. for various misdeeds. such as the medrese attended by Said Pasha. Ibrahim Fevzi Pasha (mutasarrıf 1894–6) was born in Sivas in Anatolia.36 The mutasarrıf in 1908–9 was Mahmud Mahır Bey. a native of Berat in Albania.37 These and other non-Hasawi administrators represent an important feature of life in the Ottoman empire which still tends to be ignored today: the state was not the monopoly of ethnic Turks.38 Even those who did not study in Istanbul could expect to serve in a geographically diverse series of posts. He had served in a series of teaching and administrative posts.33 In the gun-smuggling case the investigators interviewed as a witness a mounted gendarmerie private named Kerkuklu Mahmud.

It is probable. especially during Said Pasha’s tenure in office. metals and weapons. where customs officers could record goods. that relatively few of Hasa’s imports or exports were exchanged directly with India.An anational society 29 community. as Hasawis entered the gendarmerie ( just as others entered the civil administration39). One of the very few estimates of the total annual income from the sale of Hasa’s produce given by an Ottoman official is c. On a more basic level. service in the military is one of the most effective means of breaking down local particularism or parochialism. The British records are the best for the Gulf waters as a whole. moreover. Trade ties with a wider world Dependence on long-distance trade for the Hasawi community’s fundamental well-being reinforced the idea that it was a full participant in an economic and cultural network extending far over the horizon. textiles. accessible records. interaction occurred in the barracks. and the importance of long-distance trade for the Gulf cannot be doubted now. but difficult to regulate or measure. coffee. Ottoman records are patchy.42 It is also true that our knowledge extends only as far as the sources permit it to go.41 Because of the importance of trade to Hasa’s well-being. had to be imported.40 As is well known from studies in nationalism. in particular. because so little of the commerce was subject to the authority of states which have left detailed. An accumulating body of published work has sketched out basic outlines of this regional commerce. wealthy – than many other parts of Arabia. at least in part due to the devolution of customs collection to mültezims who held their authority for only one year.000 in the late 1880s. The main exports from Hasa were dates.£225. the settled population of eastern Arabia had constant reminders of strong official and social links with people of different backgrounds from throughout the empire and the western Indian Ocean littoral. donkeys. Large caravans were relatively easy to control to a degree.43 Ottoman government documents do contain a number of such passing references to trade which can be used to elaborate on the local features of the system sketched by other researchers. camels. Hence its dependence on trade. including rice. Basic goods. it was generally poor in other useful natural resources. merchants were among the wealthiest and most influential members of society. hides and ‘abah cloaks. but no British consuls or other recording observers resided in Hasa in the Ottoman period. at best. Ahsalı Abdullah – whose sergeant had the distinctly non-Arab name of Ghulam. Imports consistently exceeded exports. With so much merchandise spread around as . Although Hasa’s plentiful water supplies made it far more self-sufficient – indeed. In this and so many other ways. because they took time to assemble. sugar. without being trans-shipped in Bahrain. horses. pearls. Overland commerce was continuous. and high in volume. One incident brought to the attention of those investigating Said was an unresolved violent assault upon a local recruit. and the gendarmerie certainly must have played that role in Ottoman Hasa. It is difficult to determine accurately the volume or value of trade in eastern Arabia.

800 2.30 Frederick F. 100 by foreigners). the Hijaz and East Africa. vegetables. ‘Uqayr had once been a booming town but had never really recovered from a series of bedouin attacks before the arrival of the Ottomans in 1871. the excise mültezim and a few gendarmes would inspect the loads. Yemen. which have been converted according to the formula 25 krans £1.600 4.47 These three entrepôts traded extensively with ports throughout the Gulf and to a lesser but still steady degree with more distant lands.000 1. looking for contraband.46 No estimate of the number of boats at ‘Uqayr is readily available but may have been roughly comparable. the threat of bedouin raids made it much safer for the merchants to prepare their loads under the walls of one of the gendarmerie’s guardposts.44 Yet given the impossibility of patrolling adequately all of the surrounding land and the coasts. Lacking Qatif ’s water resources. at least of annual imports. ‘Uqayr and Qatif. but both of them were too far from Hufuf to be used for trade in bulky goods. Before the caravan set out. 1891 Commodity Rice Wheat Sugar Barley Coffee Tobacco Petroleum oil Clarified butter Wood and paper Firewood and charcoal Grains. Table 1. It gives a total of pearling boats of 335 and of general trading boats of 133 (33 owned by Qataris. once again the valuable statistics sheet of 1891 gives specific examples. fruits. however.48 In its assessment of the value of trade passing through Qatar. the remainder from Kuwait. through pearling and trade. Bahrain and Qatif From India From Iran Primarily from Iran Note a The values given on the statistical sheet are in Persian krans. livestock Textiles/clothing/boat oils Value a (£) 48. used for pearling and trade. the town’s remaining inhabitants had to depend directly on the Gulf waters for their survival. Anscombe the caravan took shape. In this sense it was much like Doha. In the late 1880s the residents of Qatif owned an estimated three hundred boats.1 Imports through Qatar. . for which one relatively detailed set of statistics exists.45 Doha and Kuwait supplemented these ports in significant ways.000 9.200 800 600 320 Place of origin From Oman and Iran Two-thirds from Iran. through which most of Hasa’s seaborne imports and exports passed. such as India.1). dating from 1891 (see Table 1. the smuggling of smaller loads was easy. Hasa had two ports which were monitored closely.

where the demand for modern guns was insatiable. as socially. Basrah.An anational society 31 It is unfortunate that no exports are listed. the manager of Sultan Abdülhamid II’s properties around Qatif.49 As might be expected. but the overall picture of distribution of trading partners and the products most in demand would probably apply to them too. both the expatriate merchants in eastern Arabia and the numerous Hasawis who made their livings through commerce. and even physically harassed. were imprisoned on charges of making and distributing foreign and counterfeit coinage in Qatif. including camel-man and peasant. Merchants from Baghdad. Economically.500 in the riots in Hufuf in 1874. or they had family connections among the tribes and in the Najdi interior (in this case Kharj). going either into the Arabian interior or offshore. A statistical sheet for Qatif or ‘Uqayr would differ from this list of imports in some details. In the weapons-smuggling case. This change was probably inevitable.56 These small traders were probably typical of others who dealt with more legitimate goods. Oman.54 Even such men of modest means who arranged the procurement and sale of the weapons had connections stretching across great distances: they had a brother or other relative who resided in an unsupervised landing spot. the gunrunners included one Bani Hajir tribesman who was employed by the state as a postal courier. it was a networked region.51 Another Iranian trader ran into trouble in Doha in 1898. described as ‘gypsies’. . The beginning of the end This interconnected region saw the structure of its networks begin to break down in the first decades of the twentieth century. presumably because there was little to trade beyond pearls. but one of the striking features of the documents concerning the investigation of Said Pasha is their evidence of participation in trade by so many Hasawis of quite modest background. suggesting that dates from Qatif and Hufuf were exported to the Hijaz. another who owned a camel and hired himself out as a guide for hajjis or for goods transport. an elderly camel-driver from Hufuf. and from the Hufuf bazaar a muleskinner-turned-trader and several shop-owners.53 The presence of foreign traders in eastern Arabia and the wealth of Hasawi merchants such as Mansur give some signs of the great value of commerce in the region. Iran and India. in spite of Qatif ’s greater ability to grow its own food. such as any port in Qatar or Kuwait.55 Some of the reputed weapons-smugglers themselves travelled great distances. The excise agents who found the guns included a sometime camel-man and greengrocer. Basrah and other places lost goods worth £1. there are occasional references in Ottoman documents to those who managed this import–export trade. two former peasants and a man who had had many jobs.50 During Said Pasha’s last term five traders from Iran. as well as to Bahrain. to Bahrain or as far as Bombay. which prompted an Ottoman gendarmerie patrol to beat both men.52 Among the Hasawis Mansur Pasha. was an extremely wealthy Shi‘i trader who on more than one occasion was regarded with suspicion. General information from British Indian sources confirms this. because of his widespread and ‘dangerous’ foreign contacts. falling into a fight with an Arab tribesman.

and Ottoman citizens from Arabia had to apply for passports in order to visit Iran. This is hardly a novel idea. even most. zakat) – although it did ¸ give in to the temptation to define the meaning of ‘tithe’ to its own benefit. Anscombe as the rapid evolution of technology and political order brought tremendous pressures upon more traditional structures of life throughout the world. of those discovered.32 Frederick F. and zekât (Ar.62 The excise tax iltizam. might have to pay customs in Basrah. for example. The desire to tap the wealth flowing from trade was undoubtedly an important consideration. If a trader were caught trying to avoid the excise agents. because it would harm the interests of the local population and thus arouse opposition. ‘Of what state are you a subject/citizen?’ – a sign. They also naturally monitored the border with Iran closely. It was absolutely convinced that Britain and Iran were working assiduously to gain control over Ottoman land and population. Those too poor to pay were not formally excused but were permitted to arrange payment by instalment. the main concern of the government was the security of the state. The breakdown of the anational linkages of the nineteenth century was already under way at the close of the Ottoman period and was speeded up by the First World War and the establishment of a nation-state in Saudi Arabia. in spite of holding a tax receipt from Basrah. both of their sensitivity to external threats and of their recognition of Hasa’s links to foreign lands. The Ottoman government was reluctant to move away from the regime designed and proclaimed by Midhat Pasha in 1871. From the onset of renewed Ottoman rule in eastern Arabia.57 In the investigation of the gun-smuggling incident. it is striking that one question the authorities posed to all the Hasawis interviewed was. A merchant importing goods from India.63) Such a system stifled rather than promoted . What was different in the Ottoman Gulf territories was the state’s oversensitivity to threats. however.58 They tried to restrict entry to eastern Arabia for anyone travelling from a British-controlled territory. in spite of the large sums that could be raised. He would then have to pay an excise tax on bringing them to Hasa – or indeed might have to pay the same customs charge again. under which the state would levy only the canonic tithe. perhaps. The excise tax iltizam quickly became one of the main pillars of the treasury. the penalty could be high: the agents who found the smuggled weapons in 1899 confiscated many. or ös ür (Ar.59 The government’s never-ending efforts to control trade around the Gulf were an integral part of this campaign to secure sensitive border regions against perceived outside threats. to which the deeper-draft Indian Ocean ships might sail instead of to the shallow Hasa ports. ‘ushr). for any state or sentient being’s first priority is self-preservation.61 The government also refused to accept proposals to create and sell a concession for the pearl trade in the Gulf. and on cargo coming from an Ottoman port 1 per cent. but it certainly was not the only compelling reason for the state’s interest. and that the tribes of Arabia were too ignorant to do anything other than play into the foreigners’ hands.60 The tax system in Hasa supports the idea that the state wanted security as well as money. was maintained in the teeth of strong opposition and in spite of the likelihood of unfair application. (The normal duty on legal goods imported from abroad was 10 per cent.

When the Sa‘udis conquered Hasa in 1913. ideology (manifested in fighting other Muslims to assert a particular view of proper Islamic practice). Ibn Sa‘ud was in the midst of learning how to correct some of the weaknesses in control and defence which had led to the downfall of previous Sa‘udi rulers.70 In large part because of such aggressive actions. to incorporate the relatively cosmopolitan population of Hasa into a new state centred in Najd. but over time the state also felt an ever-greater need to stop the weapons trade. was to inculcate acceptance of the principle that the state and its institutions existed to give the Al Sa‘ud the most effective means to support the Wahhabi ideal. The best way to do that was to give the responsibility to Hasawis who knew the country and the people best. With the forlorn hope of keeping the interior quiet. The means by which Ibn Sa‘ud hammered out a more enduring ‘nation-state’ have been explored by others. however. is not only the reduction of sharp divisions within the imagined community but also the raising of barriers against outsiders. The tensions between Sa‘udi rule and non-Wahhabi population could be illustrated graphically by the reported execution of the wealthy Shi‘i merchant and sometime Ottoman functionary Mansur Pasha of Qatif during the First World War. the authorities tried to impose an embargo on trade with Najd in 1904. too. which came to power in the name of an activist. previous Sa‘udi attempts to rule in the east had not been unqualified successes. in short. moreover. but because it offered the only hope of controlling the smuggling of contraband.65 Customs revenue was important.64 With both Kuwait and Qatar unsupervised by any customs agent. In this case. after all. Hasa saw the loosening of cross-border ties .66 By the last decade of Ottoman rule in eastern Arabia. The principle was useful in controlling zealotry among the ikhwan and later ideologues – but it also could not allow that state to administer a heterogeneous area in as relaxed a manner as the Ottomans had adopted. the local economy and society suffered. national solidarity grows strong only through alienation from others – a real or conjured threat from neighbours works wonders in building group identity.67 With Ottoman control over other territories in crisis.71 An important element of Sa‘udi nation building. In practice. the state had come to fear the well-armed tribes of the interior greatly. Istanbul seemed to give up on eastern Arabia in the years leading up to the First World War.69 As violence increased in extent and severity. Trade did not rebound thereafter. in spite of the likelihood of the imposition of more restrictions on society. Yet the state could not abolish it. some developed system of internal checks was necessary. Key to modern nation-state building. it must have been a relief to have the fighting come to an end. both by the military and by the civil administration. and with most of the Hasa coast similarly unobserved. and thus there is no need to go into them in detail here.An anational society 33 trade. The region was left woefully undermanned. the army occupied Qasim – but that. even militant. It would have been hard for the Sa‘udi dynasty. ended in failure. When that proved ineffective. he proceeded to create a national basis for the state. not only because it could ill afford the financial loss.68 Less than four hundred troops and gendarmes remained in Hasa by 1913.

Imperial Classroom: Islam. Y – Kâmil 86-38/3790. 11 BBA. J. Irade Dahiliye 44930. and Exegete of the Qur’an’. III. Riyadh and Najd. Brill. pp. (Leiden: E.or community-building project. Ottoman Mufti. see Frederick Anscombe. Irade Dahiliye 44930. enclosure 2. To conclude on a less pessimistic note: the Council of State investigation of Said Pasha ended with his exoneration on the most serious charges levelled against him. vol. notes the presence of Shi‘a and all Sunni madhahib in Hasa. 9 BBA. . 2 For the endurance of Islam in Ottoman education. SD 2185/18. see Anscombe. 12 Bashir M. The expansive trade network of a century ago was long since largely displaced by ARAMCO. Nafi. Encyclopedia of Islam. 55–6. and Education in the Late Ottoman Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 22 Kânun-i evvel 1287/3 January 1872). International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 34/3 (August 2002): 465–94.34 Frederick F. Saudi Arabia and Qatar (New York: Columbia University Press. Vidal.73 Notes 1 This most apt term achieved renown through Benedict Anderson. ‘al-Hasa’. 237. The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait. the State. p. The unrest among the Shi‘a in 1980 was the most visible sign of this discontent. S. 2–3. 1983). In today’s world. he would probably be missed by many. 10 BBA. 5 BBA. and dissatisfaction with the close check kept upon those parts of the population that diverge significantly from the dominant type of the Sa‘udi national always has the potential to break through the surface tranquillity. ¸ ¸D) 6 BBA. Sura-yi Devlet (S 2184/6. although the Hanbali ‘has increased in importance in recent times’. but ‘Al Sa‘ud’ instead of ‘El Suud’. 4 Names and terms associated with the Ottoman state appear according to a slightly modified version of modern Turkish. 2nd edn. p. He died in retirement in Baghdad in 1905. ‘sancak of Necd’ rather than ‘sanjaq of Najd’. 1971). while others are rendered from their Arabic forms. 2. ‘Abu al-Thana’ al-Alusi: An Alim. Said Pasha’s service record (tercüme-yi hâl ).72 If Said Pasha were remembered today in the Eastern Province. Necd mutasarrıf ’s undated report (probably from 1886–7) generally confirms Midhat’s assessment but admits the presence of fewer Hanafis. enclosure 2 (Midhat’s report to the Sublime Porte giving details of geographic. Thus. 7 F. 3 For further information on Ottoman aims and policies in the Gulf. 2002). administrative and economic conditions in Hasa. 1997). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso. although he failed to win reinstatement in office. Anscombe to populations tainted by the corrupted religions of the Ottoman empire and Iran. 8 On the relaxation of social and religious limits following the Ottoman displacement of Sa‘udi rule. Ottoman Gulf. 15 Tesrin-i evvel ¸ ¸ 1318/28 October 1901. when the marvels of technology have knit intimately together many once-disparate parts – indeed. Yıldız – Mehmet Kâmil Pasha (Y – Kâmil) 86-38/3790. and their replacement with bonds to the new ‘national’ heartland. see Benjamin Fortna. an area crucial to any nation. made transnationalism a strong force – it could be argued that the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is relatively less open to outside influences than it was in the anational era of Said Pasha. military. BBA. pp.

former Necd muhasebeci Seyyid Mehmed Cavid to Council of State. 16 BBA. explores the empire’s deep concern about missionaries. another arid frontier district of the empire. He found the transformation of society in Salt particularly remarkable. 25 Kânun-i evvel 1299/6 January 1884. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Basrah vali. ¸ 21 See. 645. SD 2184/6. SD 2184/6. ¸ 13 Mart 1315/25 March 1899. 1999). 26. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Basrah vali. interrogation of ¸ former Necd mutasarrıf Said. J. 20. petition of Dervis ibn Mehmed Ali. Tauris. also notes the presence of a few Iraqi Jews in Hasa. vol. 28–33. 23 See.Prk. report by Necd treasurer and Income Registry secretary. vol. II. for example.Azj) 50/80. vol. 1997) and The Ottoman Slave Trade and its Suppression 1840–1890 (Princeton: Princeton University Press. SD 2157/22. 29 Mart 1317/11 April 1901. SD 2184/6. Gazetteer. 1998). BBA. 1 Nisan ¸ 1316/14 April 1900. p. enclosure 92.An anational society 35 13 BBA. and Central Arabia (Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing. 994–5. dated by archivists to 1322/1904–7. SD 2184/6. ¸ 18 BBA. pp. Casim to Necd commander Abdülhamid. 41. 645. 6. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Basrah vali. enclosure 120. particularly during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II (1876–1909). ¸ 15 Ag ustos 1291/27 August 1875. 1982). alludes to the presence of African slaves in Hasa. Selim Deringil. SD 2184/6.g. G. 1915). statement of former Necd naib Seyyid Mehmed Sabit. 48. 4 Kânun-i evvel 1315/16 December 1899. SD 2184/6. statement of former Necd mutasarrıf Said. enclosure 120. p. Ottoman Turkish and Arabic copies of petition for justice from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Isa Abu Julayja to Basrah vali. 29 BBA. 24 Lorimer. For excellent studies on the Ottoman empire and the slave-trade. SD 2184/6. Necd Administrative Council to Basrah Administrative Council. 120. enclosure 38. SD 2184/6. enclosure 47. enclosures 47. 12 Kânun-i evvel 1315/24 December 1899. SD 2184/6. Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. 38. ˇ . SD 2184/6. Lorimer. I. enclosures 102. ¸ 27 BBA. e. pp. 19 BBA. chap. 4 ¸ Kânun-i evvel 1315/16 December 1899. for example. BBA. ¸ 20 BBA. Irade Meclis-i Mahsus 4301. 4 ¸ Kânun-i evvel 1315/16 December 1899. Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan. 5. ¸ 13 Kânun-i evvel 1298/25 December 1882. 17 Subat 1315/1 March 1900. 8 Mart 1317/21 March 1901. pp. 17 BBA. enclosure 14. Yıldız – Perakende Arzuhal ve Jurnal (Y. 25 BBA. enclosure 71. II. enclosure 48. enclosure 112a. Necd mutasarrıf Said to Basrah vali. ¸ 26 BBA. consult the works of Ehud Toledano. SD 2184/6. enclosure 43. 22 Lorimer. enclosures 48. See Eugene Rogan. 22 ¸ Kânun-i sani 1316/4 February 1901. enclosure 119. 12 Temmuz 1304/24 July 1888. Oman. 15 BBA. reports of Medina resident Seyhane Ibrahim and Egyptian journalist/newspaper owner ¸ Mehmed Safa. reform proposal of Basrah naval commander Rıza Ali. 14 Eugene Rogan details the striking changes that the onset of direct Ottoman rule brought to Transjordan. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Necd mutasarrıf ¸ Said. chap. Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East (Seattle: University of Washington Press. B. 103. 30 BBA. 5 Mart 1317/18 March 1901. bought by pilgrims who had performed a Rajabiyyah visit to Medina. p. SD 2149/40. 28 BBA. Gazetteer. 1850–1921 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire (London: I. refers to a bedouin menace to a caravan returning to Hasa with various trade goods. p. Yıldız – Bab-i Asafi Resmî (Y – A Resmî) 27/19. 16 ¸ ¸ Tesrin-i evvel 1315/28 October 1899. petition of Hasaniye to Court of First Instance.

enclosure 79. 29. survey of Qatari statistics. 46 BBA. Kelly. 38 The system of elite schools which specialized in training future state officers extended beyond the famous Mülkiye and Harbiye to include such institutions as the Tribal School. 64. Minister of Internal Affairs to Grand Vezir.Azj 50/80. SD 2184/6. · 37 BBA. 14.000–£500. Ibrahim Fevzi Pasha’s service record (tercüme-yi hâl ). p. 30 Kânun-i sani 1315/11 February 1899. ¸ . Irade Dahiliye 44930. 7 Saban 1292/8 September 1875. pp. p. 8. Precis of Turkish Expansion on the Arab Littoral of the Persian Gulf and Hasa and Qatif Affairs (Calcutta: Government of India. 768. Arabia. Council of Ministers memorandum. Bab-i Ali Evrak Odası Ayniyat 849/195. 17.36 Frederick F. SD 2184/6. 61. Y. 50 BBA. 19 Tes rin-i ¸ ¸ sani-5 Kânun-i evvel 1315/1–17 December 1899. 54 BBA. 45 BBA. 20 Mart 1319/2 April 1903. Irade Dahiliye 44930. p. 50. 1308/1890–1). pp. 39 Hasawis frequently filled positions of local authority such as district müdir or head of municipality. 48 BBA. enclosure 24. ¸ 34 BBA. SD 2184/6. ¸ 56 BBA. 16 Mart 1319/29 March 1903. enclosure 168. 26 Tesrin-i evvel 1307/7 ¸ November 1891.Prk. medical and assault investigation report. ‘Uqayr gendarmerie lieutenant Yusuf to Necd ¸ commander Abdülhamid. 20 Subat 1288/4 March ¸ ¸ 1873. enclosure 2. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Basrah vali. SD 2149/23. vol. BBA. 47 BBA. SD 2184/6. enclosure 119. 49 Lorimer. SD 2184/6. II. · 36 BBA. 43 BBA. BBA. 27 Mayıs 1314/8 June 1898. 1745–1900 (Albany: State University of New York Press. Libya. for report that not all freight coming into ‘Uqayr was being checked properly. ‘As iret Mektebi: Abdülhamid II’s School for Tribes’. pp. 32 BBA. Midhat Pasha had estimated the produce of Hasa to be worth £400. 22. Irade Dahiliye 1311-S/48. prisoners’ petition to Necd commander Abdülhamid. Y – Kâmil 86-38/3790. Irade Askeriye 1310-M/16. head of Hufuf municipality Mehmed to Necd ¸ commander Abdülhamid. 13 Kânun-i evvel 1315/25 December 1899. International Journal of Middle ¸ Eastern Studies 28/1 (February 1996): 83–107. Necd Court of Appeals to Necd mutasarrıf Said. p. Gazetteer. They also served on the sancak administrative council. and the Gulf. 1544. enclosure 89. Saldana. 40 BBA. 43. enclosure 63. Y – A Resmî 60/12. 26 ¸ Haziran 1316/9 July 1900. 56. Iraq. 53 BBA. ¸ 51 BBA. enclosure 119. SD 2186/35. Yıldız-Bab-i Asafi Resmî 93/21. 33 BBA. Y – A Resmî 120/92. Minister of War to Council of State. 66. 4. albeit in relation to Kuwait rather than Hasa’s ports. Britain and the Persian Gulf. 44 BBA. enclosure 119. ¸ 55 BBA. SD 2184/6. 1795–1880 (Oxford: Clarendon Press. enclosure 119. 22 Haziran 1316/5 July 1900. 1906). SD 2184/6. 20 Haziran 1316/5 July 1900. 132–3. Dahiliye Nezareti – Muhâberât-i Umûmiye Idaresi 50–1/21. 43. enclosure 53. 31. SD 2184/6. pp. ¸ 35 John B. interrogation of Ahsalı Abdullah ibn Hasan. pp. 1968). enclosure 3. Another copy of this survey is in BBA. Kurdistan and Albania. including Arabia. Mahmud Mahır Bey’s service record.000 (BBA. Anscombe 31 BBA. enclosure 2. The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq. 52 BBA. p. 42 For this period. SD 2184/6. 1 mentions these distant destinations. 41 Basra Vilayeti Salnamesi (Basrah: Basrah Matbaası. which catered to the sons of influential men in heavily tribal areas of the empire. 24. 44. A. p. 57. ¸ 4 Receb 1311/11 January 1894. 28. Y – Kâmil 86-38/3790. enclosure 119. 3). See Eugene Rogan. 60. enclosure 119. see Hala Fattah. 43. 657. SD 2184/6. ¸ 16 Kânun-i evvel 1315/28 December 1899. J. 1997). petition of ‘Abd ¸ al-Husayn Salih Hamad. p.

MV 68/2. generally overstresses the revenue interest at the cost of recognizing the security issues. 162. 29 Rebi el-âhir 1294/13 May ¸ 1877. 146–8. 199–200. ‘Politics’. Hariciye Siyasi 96/13. Meclis-i Vükela Mazbataları (MV) 113/87. in Philip Khoury and Joseph Kostiner (eds). 61 BBA. 1990). MV 112/1. Y. Al-Rasheed and Al-Rasheed. On this last phase of Ottoman rule. 64 BBA. 73 BBA. BBA. II. 65 For an interesting appeal to the state to revert to a form of iltizam in collecting the tithe because locals could do it so much more efficiently.Prk. for example. 67 Lorimer. SD 2149/40. Bibliography Unpublished archival sources Bas bakanlık Osmanlı Ars ivi. Ottoman Gulf. ‘Transforming Dualities: Tribe and State Formation in Saudi Arabia’. 68 BBA. 16 Tes rin-i evvel 1308/28 ¸ October 1892.Azj 47/70. ‘The Politics of Encapsulation: Saudi Policy towards Tribal and Religious Opposition’. Former Necd mutasarrıf Said to Council of State. since a number of them seemed to have few qualms over admitting that they were in some way involved in arms-smuggling. It is unlikely that they were all dissembling in their answers.An anational society 37 57 For a typical report on British and Iranian designs on the Ottoman Iraqi provinces. 109–16. Politics. The Making of Saudi Arabia. see BBA. ¸ ˇ 60 Fattah. pp. dated by archivist to 1320/1904–7.Prk. and Madawi Al-Rasheed and Loulouwa Al-Rasheed. see BBA. 66 BBA. chap. opinion on customs question of Sublime Porte legal adviser.Azj 4/49. Y. Joseph Kostiner. anonymous report on the Iraqi provinces submitted to Sultan Abdülhamid II. Yıldız – Perakende Umumiye 20/5. A History of Saudi Arabia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. report of Abdullah to Yıldız Palace. 59 BBA. 26 Rebi el-evvel 1324/20 May 1906. 2002). SD 2185/18. MV 70/15. 70 I am indebted to Guido Steinberg for this information. pp. Gazetteer. 21 Nisan 1299/3 May 1883. See also Madawi Al-Rasheed. p. pp. 2 Temmuz 1329/15 July 1913. BBA. 69 Anscombe.Prk. BBA. Istanbul ¸ ¸ Bab-i Ali Documents Collection: Bab-i Ali Evrak Odası Ayniyat · Dahiliye Nezareti – Muhâberât-i Umûmiye Idaresi Hariciye Siyasi . 12 Ag ustos 1314/24 August 1898. SD 2177/7. BBA. 7 Haziran ¸ 1315/19 June 1899. Middle Eastern Studies 32/1 ( January 1996): 96–119. which suggests that the legitimacy of Ottoman rule was broadly accepted. 58 It is worthy of note that all of those so questioned readily admitted to being Ottoman citizens/subjects. BBA. 72 Al-Rasheed. Saudi Arabia. Ottoman Gulf. dated by archivist to 1320/1904–7.Prk. 63 BBA. Interior Minister to Grand Vezir. 747. SD 2184/6. Necd commander Abdülhamid to Basrah commander. vol. see Anscombe. 3 Receb 1323/3 September 1905. 1916–1936 (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 62 BBA. 13 Haziran ¸ 1318/26 June 1902. BEO Ayniyat 851/258–9. 226–51. Mayıs 1308/May–June 1892. anonymous report on the Iraqi provinces. 1993). Basrah vali Hidayet to Yıldız Palace. Y. 18 Subat 1296/2 March ¸ 1881. telegram from merchant Yusuf Ya‘qub to Yıldız Palace. 7. Y. Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East (Berkeley: University of California Press. 2 Kânun-i evvel 1306/14 December 1890. 71 Joseph Kostiner. the other very sensitive question for the state. p.Azj 47/58.Azj 6/77.

Anscombe · Irade Askeriye · Irade Dahiliye · Irade Meclis-i Mahsus Meclis-i Vükela Mazbataları Sura-yi Devlet ¸ Yıldız Palace Archive Collection: Bab-i Asafi Resmî Mehmet Kâmil Pasha Perakende Arzuhal ve Jurnal Perakende Umumiye Published sources Anderson. Al-Rasheed. p. J. F. Calcutta: Government of India. E. Albany: State University of New York Press. Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 34/3 (August 2002): 465–94. New York: Verso. 1998.38 Frederick F. 1997. 226–51. Nafi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Seattle: University of Washington Press. 237. Ottoman Mufti. London: I. B. ‘Abu al-Thana’ al-Alusi: An Alim. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kostiner. J. Basra Vilayeti Salnamesi. Princeton: Princeton University Press. H. 2 vols. Britain and the Persian Gulf. Kelly. 1915. ‘As iret Mektebi: Abdülhamid II’s School for Tribes’. and Central Arabia. B. A. 1993. 1982. Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Toledano. ‘The Politics of Encapsulation: Saudi Policy towards Tribal and Religious Opposition’. Lorimer. . Al-Rasheed. Fortna. J. 1916–1936. F. 1906. J. Leiden: E. 2002. vol. The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq. in P. Ehud. 1990. Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East. Kostiner. Rogan. The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire. Rogan. E. pp. S. 1308/1890–1.. Brill. 1745–1900. M. ‘al-Hasa’. Saldana. the State. 1997. Oxford: Clarendon Press. G. Vidal. International Journal of Middle ¸ Eastern Studies 28/1 (February 1996): 83–107. Encyclopedia of Islam. and Exegete of the Qur’an’. M. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1999. Deringil. ‘Transforming Dualities: Tribe and State Formation in Saudi Arabia’. and the Gulf. 2002. M. Arabia. 1983. 1997. B. 1971. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Fattah. Kostiner (eds). and Education in the Late Ottoman Empire. Anscombe. New York: Columbia University Press. Middle Eastern Studies 32/1 ( January 1996): 96–119. 2nd edn. and Al-Rasheed. B. III. Precis of Turkish Expansion on the Arab Littoral of the Persian Gulf and Hasa and Qatif Affairs. J. Khoury and J. Oxford: Oxford University Press. J. The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait. The Ottoman Slave Trade and its Suppression 1840–1890. E. Basrah: Basrah Matbaası. 1795–1880. S. B. Tauris. A History of Saudi Arabia. Imperial Classroom: Islam. Oxford: Oxford University Press. L. The Making of Saudi Arabia. Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East. Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing.. Oman. 1850–1921. 1968. Toledano.

W. able to overcome communal bonds. As Bushehri explains in his unpublished memoirs. the Big God was the God . the second God was the Small God. and by 1971. His sense of place and self is filtered through strong political and religious loyalties which blend together under the banner of Pahlavi nationalism. Iran had relinquished her historical claim over the islands. certainly it was so to mine. Palgrave. In contrast. G. written some 130 years apart by an English traveller and by a member of the Persian community of Bahrain. Most Persians opted for Bahrain’s independence under its historical Arab rulers. Despite conveying somewhat stereotypical orientalist images. . or the khodaheh kochek. ‘Struggle of [sic] National Identity’2 These two quotations.3 . In short. Palgrave invokes the notion of ‘men of the world’ as individuals socializing in open-minded milieus who developed ways of thinking and relating to the ‘other’. . the majority of the Persian Shi‘i population of Manamah looked at Iran as their homeland until 1967–8. God.2 Mapping the transnational community Persians and the space of the city in Bahrain. Bushehri’s autobiographical narrative provides a communal perspective on Bahrain in the early 1960s. when the United Nations sent a special commission to Bahrain to ascertain the views of the local population regarding its political future. we have at Bahreyn [Manamah] something like ‘men of the world. . when Bahrain was released from British control. . instead of Zelators and fanatics. Muhammad Reza Shah.1869–1937 Nelida Fuccaro Of religious controversy I have never heard one word. that there were two Gods: the Big God. who know the world like men’. a great relief to the mind. ‘Ali A. Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862–3)1 When I was a very young child . camel-drivers and Bedouins. . which he had just visited. He was the Shah of Iran. capture two snapshots of the multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan society of the port city of Manamah before the radical demographic transformation of the 1960s. the al-Khalifah family. Bushehri. beliefs and cultures of origin. . or as I was naming him khodaheh bozorgh in Persian. Palgrave’s description of Manamah’s coffee-houses in the mid-nineteenth century portrays them as cosmopolitan venues in contrast with the ‘closely knit and bigoted universe of central Arabia’. I used to believe . c.

The contested national culture and political loyalties which were promoted by Bahrain’s Sunni elites of tribal origin has left room for the cyclical resurgence of particularistic and sectarian identities. who had close historical connections to the Qajar and Pahlavi governments. In 1938 and 1942–3 Baharnah activists mobilized against the Persians employed by BAPCO. In the twentieth century the frequent resurfacing and reshaping of categories of individual and communal definition such as ‘Arab (Arab Sunni of tribal origin). Dubai and Kuwait city before the discovery of oil. Baharnah (Arab Shi‘i) and ‘Ajam (Persian) suggest that indigenous political discourses were dominated by what can be defined as the ‘politics of primordialism’. Among many Bahraini Arabs political activism acquired strong anti-British and antiimperialist overtones and provided the platform for the emergence of protest movements with a nationalist base which opposed the oil and security alliance .8 In the 1950s the development of political and labour movements inspired by Arab nationalism partially succeeded in bridging the Sunni–Shi‘i divide.7 Outbreaks of violence triggered by economic and political grievances generally led to sectarian or communal confrontation. particularly those of Iranian descent.40 Nelida Fuccaro In Bahrain. which attested to the economic success of port settlements such as Manamah. the focus of bitter resentment and contempt. The long-standing antagonism between the Persians and the Najdis resulted in armed clashes in the suq of Manamah in 1903–4 and in 1923. As historical processes cosmopolitanism and nationalism are by no means exclusive and diachronic. The political particularism expressed by Bushehri seems to be at odds with the universalist conception implicit in the ‘historical cosmopolitanism’ noted by Palgrave. nationalist sentiments and the sense of belonging to a modern political community began to be voiced in the 1920s as a result of the ideological influence of neighbouring Arab countries.5 It can be argued that processes of ‘Bahrainization’ which started with the consolidation of a modern administration in the 1920s relied on historical traditions and lifestyles which were syncretic and attempted to operate a new synthesis under the notion of a ‘modern Bahrain’.4 The exclusive nature and translocal character of modern nationalism is particularly evident in the case of the local Persians. as they bitterly criticized the employment and better treatment of foreigners. particularly non-Arabs. feelings of bedouin superiority and the protection granted to the Najdis by Ibn Sa‘ud made the Shi‘is. The political reforms carried out by the British in the 1920s aimed at empowering large sections of the impoverished Arab Shi‘i population and at keeping the political activities of Iran among the local Persian communities in check while creating a suitable framework for the continuation of the rule of the al-Khalifah family. Intransigent Wahhabi beliefs. the American company in charge of oil exploitation in Bahrain. British colonialism and the political and socio-economic change brought about by oil wealth functioned as powerful catalysts for political mobilization in the country. the project has not been entirely successful. India and Iran. Looking back.6 Bahrain’s communal divisions were the kernel of the policy of divide and rule which was enforced by Great Britain as the supreme arbiter of regional politics for 150 years or so.

communalism and nationalism are frames of reference which can be clearly related to translocal. They brought in different material cultures. which written sources confine to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At the same time it became an arena of communal conflict and political mobilization. In what follows migratory movements from Iran and the . From this perspective state building under the al-Khalifah shaykhs should not be considered exclusively as the result of Britain’s informal empire in the Persian Gulf. political loyalties and legal traditions which continued to function as independent yet interrelated sources of communal life and organization while gradually shaping the contours of the island polity. religious and political links with Iran. which conquered the islands in 1783. the Omanis and. The mobility of the tribal society which dominated the Arabian Peninsula and southern Iran. only by contextualizing the study of the Persians within the formation of a ‘local’ and ‘national’ arena as interconnected political. transregional and transnational contexts. regional and international flows of people and commodities. The terms of this debate are provided by the gradual evolution of the tribal/modern state under British control and its relations with the traditional maritime economy based in the city of Manamah. The coastline has provided stable political boundaries which defined the sphere of control of empires and tribal dynasties. the Persians. In other words. fostering linkages between local. The longue durée of Bahraini history. Popular protest and elite mobilization became increasingly constrained by the community’s position as an endangered minority which large sections of the local Arab population continued to perceive as aloof and untrustworthy outsiders. As was the case for the al-Khalifah family. Unlike other metropolitan states of the Persian Gulf Bahrain is an island society with a long history of agriculture and sedentary settlement before the discovery of oil. Yet the existence of ‘transnational communities’ in the region implies the existence of nations whose boundaries are ‘violated’ by movements of peoples and ideas. since the early nineteenth century. The coastline of Bahrain was indeed a permeable border which nurtured the coexistence of diverse religious and ethnic communities under local tribal rulers who enjoyed the protection of foreign powers: the Portuguese. which they could visit with almost no restrictions until 1970. suggests that cosmpolitanism. cultural and socio-economic fields will it be possible to grasp the meaning of ‘transnational’ and relate it to the community’s experience of historical change. both rulers and large sections of the urban population were immigrants.Mapping the transnational community 41 between the British and the government of Bahrain. India and East Africa consistently affected the make-up of the population of the islands. the government of British India. The Shi‘is continued to nurture family. The city of Manamah offers a unique insight into the creation of the island polity.9 The majority of Persians remained politically silent in this period. it was a long process of strategic negotiation with different sections of the local population in order to establish the pre-eminence of their particularistic Sunni/bedouin tradition of family rule. In fact. and the dynamic maritime networks that connected the Persian Gulf to the Middle East. This port provided a space for cultural and socio-economic exchange.

By the beginning of the nineteenth century the seat of tribal power was established in the town of Muharraq.10 The city developed east of the Portuguese fort on a natural harbour which was easily accessible to both commercial and naval ships.42 Nelida Fuccaro spatial. built by the Portuguese between 1515 and 1521. The absence of walls and of a permanent defence system favoured the mercantile development and open socio-economic structure of Manamah. ‘Ali al-Khalifah. its diverse ethnic and religious communities and the representatives of Great Britain after the 1830s. the ruler of Bahrain between 1869 and 1923. which relied on pearling and transit trade. In 1904 the same receipts decreased to 85 per cent. It was a coercive system relying on taxes and corvées imposed on peasants and date farmers by the armed retinue of the al-Khalifah shaykhs ( fidawiyyah). As a political space it brokered relations between the tribal conquerors of the islands. Customs collected in the port. The history of this settlement cannot be dissociated from that of its fort. As a result of military conquest and according to bedouin custom. agricultural taxation and maritime trade represented approximately 98 per cent of the total income of the Shaykh of Bahrain. After 1736 Nadir Shah built a new fort located in the southern outskirts of twentieth-century Manamah. After Bahrain came under Persian rule following the Safavid conquest of Hormuz in 1621. which expanded as a cosmopolitan immigration unit. Manamah and the political economy of al-Khalifah rule The city of Manamah was the centre of the maritime economy of the islands. socio-economic and political reconfiguration of family and economic networks in the city are discussed to highlight the role played by transnational connections in the development of the urban environment. qal‘at al-bahrayn. which represented a watershed in the modern history of the Persian community. Shaykh ‘Isa b. The separation between the fort and the city can be taken as the spatial referent of the rulers’ detachment from urban society. In 1873–4 land revenue.12 The relationship between the ruling family and the mercantile communities of Manamah was affected by the different administration of the urban and rural areas. inherited permanent rights over the agricultural districts of the island. located on an island east of Manamah port. . This narrative stops at the beginning of the oil era in 1937 with the promulgation of the Nationality and Property Law. represented an important resource base for the rulers. a feature which is crucial in understanding the nature of the al-Khalifahs’ rule over Manamah after their conquest of Bahrain in 1783. He routinely distributed land and entire villages as hibah or personal gifts to members of his family.11 The control of Manamah gave legitimacy to the rule of the al-Khalifah family. the centre of Persian military and political authority gradually shifted inland. who also relied on the exploitation of the agricultural hinterland of Manamah. particularly on transit trade. probably as a result of the introduction of fees on inheritance transfers which added considerable revenue to the personal treasury of the ruler.

part of which was claimed back by Muhammad Rahim’s son in 1939. Ahmad al-Khalifah and Muhammad b. which were sold in specialized markets controlled by relatives of Shaykh ‘Isa as a result of the distribution of family property. the trading community. In 1862 Palgrave described an impoverished city with a few ruined stone buildings whose landscape was dominated by the huts of poor fishermen. skippers and pearl-divers. Before the succession of ‘Isa b. Regional and long-distance trade .13 In Manamah the ruler appointed a member of his family as governor of the city but revenue was collected only in the customs house and in some sections of the central markets through local intermediaries. ‘Abdullah b. Muhammad blockaded the ports of ‘Uqayr and Qatif which functioned as major distribution centres of goods from Bahrain to the Arabian Peninsula. particularly vegetables. In 1905 payments to secure loyalty of members of the family.17 With the accession of Shaykh ‘Isa in 1869 a new era of prosperity and stability was inaugurated under the aegis of the Pax Britannica. Between the early 1890s and the reorganization of the customs in 1923. often had the upper hand in their dealings with the tribal government.15 The development of an increasing monetary economy in the last quarter of the nineteenth century brought considerable benefits to wealthy international merchants who. Many of Manamah’s merchants fled to Kuwait and to the Persian coast to await the cessation of hostilities. lent a considerable sum of money to Shaykh ‘Isa. powerful tribal allies and fidawiyyah accounted to more than two-thirds of Shaykh ‘Isa’s total expenses. generally received full compensation from the ruler for their loans. Bahrain was occupied by the Imam of Muscat in 1800 and ruled by the Wahhabis in 1810–11. shops and warehouses to the merchants. Soon after the end of the war. a member of a prominent Persian family which will be discussed below. The rulers controlled the infrastructure of the central markets and rented out land. particularly merchants with transnational connections. between 1894 and 1899 the British ‘Native Agent’ Muhammad Rahim Safar. as ‘Abdullah took shelter in Kuwait. usually with land grants or particular trade concessions.Mapping the transnational community 43 who came to control large agricultural estates and date gardens. During the civil war of 1842–3 when Manamah became the theatre of military operations between the two main contenders to the rulership. Khalifah. fish and meat. Not only did they increase the volume of overseas and transit trade passing through customs. unlike the case of Muhammad Rahim Safar. the port was closed and commercial activities were paralysed. Shaykh ‘Isa farmed out the collection of taxes on goods entering and leaving Bahrain to Indian merchants. For instance. they were also a source of cash loans. and effectively supported the coercive apparatus of government established by the al-Khalifahs in the rural districts of the islands. In the following decades Manamah became the focus of British commercial activities in the Arabian Gulf and the world centre of pearling.14 Although dependent on the goodwill of the shaykhs for their business premises. fruit.16 Merchant elites were instrumental to the maintenance of family rule. They were able to impose direct taxation only on local produce. ‘Ali al-Khalifah in 1869 family strife and political instability had disastrous effects on the economy of Manamah.

One of the earliest documented instances of appeal to the British Agent dates back to 1905 when ‘Ali Kazim Bushehri. commercial expertise and manpower coming from neighbouring regions which supported the demographic and physical expansion of the city. These courts applied British Indian law and operated in parallel with local Sunni and Shi‘i religious courts. and with the tribal councils controlled by the ruler. As beneficiaries of hibah the shaykhs could not in theory alienate land through sale. British ‘native agents’ had acquired judicial power over all those groups that did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Shaykh of Bahrain in 1861. Although the courts of the British Political Agency were established formally in 1919. despite the general increase in revenue from trade and pearling. In practice. with small communities of Indians. which had reduced as a result of the increasing number of family members he had to support. it seems that the Indian merchants who farmed the customs continued . civil and criminal disputes. Although there is no evidence of action taken by the British representative. Furthermore. a Persian merchant. the property was officially registered in the name of the Persian merchant 18 years later. Najd and Iran. and ‘Ali Kazim complained to the Agent that Shaykh ‘Isa’s arbitration in favour of the Dawasir was unfair.18 Manamah’s booming economy relied mainly on capital. British extraterritorial jurisdiction empowered Manamah’s mercantile communities whose members could resort to the Agency to further their communal and individual interests. by the end of the nineteenth century the practice by his relatives of selling properties in the residential districts of Manamah and in the outskirts of the city became widespread.000 residents were originally from Basrah. the accumulation of merchant capital prompted them to seek alternative sources of income in order to establish independent bases of financial support. The land in question was located in Laki. Jews and Europeans. As the criteria of jurisdiction became the subject of bitter disputes. the imposition of British extraterritorial jurisdiction on immigrant communities had important repercussions on large sections of the population of Manamah.44 Nelida Fuccaro had recovered fully by 1873.19 While British protection consolidated the political foundations of Shaykh ‘Isa’s rule and ensured the maintenance of peace at sea. The first available breakdown of the population of the city in 1904 suggests that approximately half of its 25. most cases were remanded to the Agency court after referral to the British Agent and to the ruler. Labour from Bahrain’s agricultural villages continued to supply manpower for the boatbuilding and pearling industries.21 The gradual transfer of real estate to merchant elites is another indication of the steady erosion of the rulers’ control over the city. became involved in a land dispute with a member of the powerful Dawasir tribe which belonged to the close entourage of Shaykh ‘Isa. and between 1873 and 1900 the value of pearl exports increased sevenfold. as it ultimately reverted to Shaykh ‘Isa as part of the family dirah. Kuwait. Qatif.20 By providing new sources of arbitration and mediation in commercial. Although Shaykh ‘Isa donated land to rich merchants in exchange for cash loans. al-Ahsa’. one of Manamah’s Persian neighbourhoods.22 Many close relatives of the ruler were also dissatisfied with Shaykh ‘Isa’s grants.

Many mercantile communities relocated to the Arab coast to avoid the new fiscal regime which was detrimental to their business. Persian migrations and family networks The islands of Bahrain and the city of Manamah were the natural destinations of immigration from Iran. In 1828 a member of the Safar family bought a date plantation near the village of Bilad al-Qadim. The earliest acquisition of property in Bahrain by a Persian dates back to the early al-Khalifah period. The movement of tribal populations and merchant communities which intersected the Gulf waters facilitated the exchange of populations between Bahrain and the coastal regions between Kuwait to the Straits of Hormuz. almost half of them from the district of Dasht. which were followed by sharp rises in crime and urban insecurity. In 1900 a Persian customs administration was established in the ports of Bushehr. After 1925 the creation of a property market regulated by modern institutions considerably weakened the monopoly over the central markets of Manamah held by the al-Khalifah shaykhs. Family histories and British records suggest that large groups of Persian immigrants arrived in Bahrain between the 1860s and the early 1920s. The fixing of property rights. marked the beginning of widespread political reforms and provided the foundations for the modern administration of the city.24 During the reign of ‘Isa b. ‘Ali the Qajar ruler Nasir al-Din Shah (1848–96) and his successor Muzaffar al-Din Shah (1896–1907) gradually imposed direct control over the coastal regions of southern Iran previously under semi-independent chiefs of tribal origin. alongside the establishment of municipal government in 1919 and the reorganization of the customs in 1923. The history of Bushehr in the late nineteenth century can be aptly summed up as a litany of disasters. The scarcity of rain provoked severe food shortages in the periods 1870–2. Bandar ‘Abbas and Lingah.Mapping the transnational community 45 to pay yearly advances to the ruler which had little relation to the expansion of the volume of trade.23 Many urban notables also acquired permanent property rights after the enforcement of official land registration in 1925. an old Shi‘i religious centre located to the south-west of Manamah. it cannot be documented historically. 1888–92 and 1897–8. whose capital Bushehr was the seat of the British Resident in the Gulf and one of the largest ports in the region. The majority of them were Shi‘is. managed by Belgian officials from the new Department of Imperial Persian Customs based in Tehran.25 The expanding economy of Manamah after the end of the civil strife of the 1840s was supported by a considerable inflow of labour and commercial expertise from the coastal regions of southern Iran. The majority of the population of Lingah left the city between 1894 and 1904. By 1900 the regional currency had switched from the Persian kran to the Indian rupee as an indication of the shifting balance of trade in favour of mercantile centres such as Manamah. Although it can be surmised that Persian rule encouraged the settlement of Arab and Persian groups. Dubai and Kuwait. as merchants increasingly bought land and immovable property located in the suq. As the city was dependent on its agricultural hinterland for basic food .

were keen drinkers of tea and spirits. A British report on Bahrain trade compiled in 1902 noted that ‘the influx of Persian settlers during the past two years are creating demand for a better class of prints. locusts and cattle disease had a cumulative effect on prices in the central markets of Bushehr. a funeral house located in Manamah which functioned as the religious and social centre of the community. books and shoes increased sharply between 1873 and 1905. well-to-do Persians in Bahrain would wear an ‘aba. belonged to families originally from the Dashti quarter in Bushehr. Shirazis. urban neighbourhoods and villages shaped Persian migration flows to Bahrain which continued to follow lines of kinship and locality.46 Nelida Fuccaro provisions such as wheat. rosewater. shawls.29 As the first or second generations settled in Bahrain they maintained strong family links with their city of origin. pantaloons. woollen socks and imported shoes. Farsis. As recorded in contemporary accounts their clothes and headgear set them apart from the local Arab population: following the Bushehr fashion at the turn of the century. ‘Ahwazis and Bastekis. liquors. Persians. as was the case for the Bushehris. barley and meat. known throughout the Arab Gulf as ‘Ajam. Famine and disease were cyclical and cholera and smallpox ravaged the city in 1870–2 and in the 1890s. larger groups which included different households continued to be identified with their places of origin in Iran.26 Given the absence of detailed population figures before 1904 we can infer the presence of new Persian immigrants in Manamah from patterns of consumption of particular goods. They were economic migrants who moved in relatively small groups. waistcoat. often joined in the host country by relatives and neighbours. The arrival of larger communities which included impoverished peasants and labourers escaping rural insecurity was also common. and invested in houses and landed properties in their old neighbourhood. Persian localist identity was also reinforced . to the detriment of the local Indian community. who imported books from Iran and India. particularly for the education of their children.27 Literacy and numeracy were widespread among traders and entrepreneurs. woollen cloths.28 Despite enjoying a reputation for high standards of living. The dislocation of entire families. cheap velvets and silks’. British observers who were generally familiar with the population of the southern Iranian cities took for granted the more refined taste and superior material culture of the ‘Ajam immigrants. The unstable Qajar administration added to the general chaos: in 1898–9 alone five different governors were appointed to the Bushehr district.30 Marriage with first cousins and relatives in Iran contributed to the continuity of family ties across the Gulf waters. In 1951 half of the members of the council of the Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir. By 1904 the business of merchants from Bushehr was thriving. Persian cloaks (‘abas). The precarious conditions of the urban and rural population were worsened by the tariff barriers placed by the Persian government on food imports which impoverished large sections of Bushehr’s wealthy merchant communities. Imports of tea. While the new family line was often established under the name of the first settler in Manamah. the majority of Persians who left Bushehr were in search of a new life and trade opportunities in Bahrain.

Dawani and Beljik families. later transferred to his son.31 Different matrimonial alliances suggest the progressive integration of some members of the community into the cosmopolitan society of Manamah. ‘Abd al-Nabi’s ma’tam and his new family connections contributed to placing the ‘Ajam community of Manamah on the urban map.. the wealthiest and most influential ‘Ajam Shi‘i groups of the pre-oil era. The Kazruni family capitalized on the religious networks and patronage politics associated to the popular Shi‘i neighbourhoods of Manamah.Mapping the transnational community 47 by the creation of new family blocs which included households of the same social standing. kept social distance from other Persian immigrants. the Kazimi and Muniri branches of the Bushehr family started a troubled family history in 1881 when ‘Ali Kazim from Bushehr. married Zahra bint Ahmad Bushehri. Native Agents from 1872 to 1884 and from 1893 to 1900 respectively. who arrived in Manamah in 1860. ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar married the aunt of Muhammad Tahir Sharif. As the first leader of the Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir since 1905. dates and tea. Social standing was primarily dictated by mercantile wealth but was also acquired through religious connections and through privileged access to the British agency and to the rulers. Yemen and Bushehr. the first member of this group to settle in Manamah in the 1890s. fostering links with similar religious organizations controlled by the Arab population of the city.32 The family histories of the Safar and Sharif families.33 Members of the Safar and Sharif families kept close connections with Bushehr and Iran. members of the Safar family acquired a prominent position in the international trade of a wide range of goods: weapons. the sister of ‘Abd al-Nabi Ahmad. For instance. Muhammad ‘Ali Safar settled in Bahrain in 1833 as the ‘Native Agent’ for the British Resident in Bushehr. ‘Abd al-Nabi Qalawwas. coffee. English and Arabic in their private and commercial . a very rich merchant from Fars who established his business in the suq of Manamah in 1904. and used Farsi. a Bushehri who settled in Bahrain as the agent for the British firm Gray. Their son Muhammad Rahim Safar. Paul & Co. inherited the large Sharif/Safar fortune. married into the Beder. The family had extensive land holdings in southern Iraq and urban properties in Bombay and the Gulf. two funeral houses located in central Manamah. As a result of the political connections of his family. rice. In Bahrain the Safars held the position of Native Agents almost uninterruptedly until the establishment of a British Political Agency in 1900. and gave him control of the islands’ pearling fleets. ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar and his son Muhammad Rahim. enjoyed an exceptionally privileged relationship with Shaykh ‘Isa as the local representatives of Great Britain. an ‘Ajam immigrant from the same urban neighbourhood. the last British Native Agent in Bahrain. which had been the main trading company in the islands since 1873. he married two Arab women whose families had established the Hajj ‘Abbas and Bin Sallum ma’tams. all from the same district in Bushehr. merged in Manamah under the umbrella of British protection and international trade. Some time after 1869 the ruler granted ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar a very favourable concession on customs duties. The daughters of Baqir Isfandiyar. By acting as local agents for Great Britain in Arabia.

They provided leadership and maintained their local clientele by supporting the Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir. ethnicity. powerful merchant elites from southern Iran who have been extremely keen to publicize their Arab and tribal descent.36 As Manamah’s political blocs followed sectarian lines. Muhammad Rahim used the Persian honorific title aqa but claimed Arab descent from Hillah in southern Iraq. By the 1920s the small Sunni community was relatively wealthy and included merchants from the Bastak district who had intermarried with Arab families. Both families publicized their links with the Iranian Bakhtiyari tribe but changed their names to al-Safar and alSharif. Like other funeral houses which mushroomed in Manamah in the 1890s. These two families were the only Persian groups that acquired formal political authority in nineteenth-century Bahrain as representatives of the government of British India. of whom only 50 were Sunni. Persians in the city As a developing cosmopolitan city in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. the Persian ma’tam was supported by merchants. whose support was essential for the maintenance of their privileged position as British employees. locality. Al-‘Ajam al-Kabir was established in 1892 as a specialized building for the celebration of ‘ashura and for the organization of the tamthiliyyah. as these religious institutions structured the socioreligious organization of the Shi‘i neighbourhoods of the city. Claiming Arab/tribal descent was a pragmatic device which legitimized their status vis-à-vis the ruling family.48 Nelida Fuccaro correspondence. The Bushehri and Safar families contributed as much as two-thirds of the initial capital. Shi‘i and Sunni ‘Ajam remained separate.35 The Safar and Sharif families are unique among the ‘Ajams of Bahrain in that despite intermarriage they generally maintained an ethnic and linguistic identity separate from that of the Arabs.37 Unlike the Safar and Sharif families. Manamah had community-based socio-political organizations. Migrations were the major catalyst of urban expansion and articulated overlapping networks whose members were linked by family.34 Contestations over ethnic origins are not uncommon in Bahrain. religious loyalties and economic interests. particularly among hawalah groups. In 1904 the Persians were the largest foreign group established in the city on a permanent basis with approximately 1. although the Safars did not maintain . ceremonial flagellation and passion play commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn.550 individuals. the Kazruni and Bushehri families were true representative of the urban notability. Between 1889 and 1910 the Bushehri and Kazruni families brought to Manamah under their protection approximately 20 per cent of the total ‘Ajam population of the city. whose involvement in high politics meant that their power base was not so close to the popular quarters of Manamah. It was among the Shi‘is that migrations from Iran had a more visible impact on the development of the city and on the formation of wealthy entrepreneurial groups who enlarged their business by granting patronage to the newcomers. the procession. at the beginning of the twentieth century and in the 1960s respectively.

By 1902 ‘Ali Kazim had expanded his business by establishing trade relations with Lingah. In 1952 the ma’tam was supported by the rent of three houses. By 1917 Mirza Hasan Husayn Shirazi. He was one of the largest food suppliers in Manamah and with his brother Isma’il ran a ferry service to Nabi Saleh Island which sold provisions to the local population. by two brothers originally from Bushehr who had shops in the Manamah suq. Reza Banna’. Located in the ‘Ajam district.Mapping the transnational community 49 their interest in ma’tam affairs in later years. Al-’Ajam al-Kabir also had a special budget for poor and for needy individuals who claimed sayyid descent. Members of the Muniri branch of the Bushehri family headed this institution from 1927 to 1967. This institution provided relief and shelter to increasing numbers of dispossessed people during the harsh economic crisis that followed the collapse of the pearling industry in the early 1930s. sold his house in Bushehr to ‘Ali Kazim in 1909 while ‘Ali Kazim’s partner ‘Abd al-Nabi Bushehri took Reza’s son Zar Haydar under his protection. Bayt Baqir Isfandiyar was the largest property owned by the Persian ma’tam. The ma’tam was supported by yearly donations from rich and poor members of the community and by waqf revenue. was a self-made man. arrived in Bahrain in 1890 under the protection of ‘Ali Kazim who employed Ahmad’s son ‘Abd al-Nabi in his shop in Manamah suq. particularly rents from houses and shops which were known by the name of the individual who had endowed them. a grand and luxurious merchant house by Manamah standards. originally owned by one of the wealthiest foodstuff dealers of the city. He became rich by capitalizing on food shortages in Iran. Ahmad was housed in one of ‘Ali Kazim’s properties which was bought by ‘Abd al-Nabi in 1906 when he became the business partner of ‘Ali Kazim and started a spectacular career as building contractor. Bayt ‘Ali Zalu and Hasan Zalu were donated to the ma’tam between 1898 and 1913 and in 1924 respectively. It was a large. a member of the Ruyan family. originally a day labourer who became an international trader in household commodities. taking over from ‘Abd al-Nabi Qalawwas Kazruni. two-floor stone building. particularly foodstuffs. donated a piece of land with huts known as Hawtah Shirazi which gave the ma’tam a monthly rent of 30 rupees in 1930. and of ‘Abd al-Nabi Qalawwas Kazruni. often catering for their immediate needs. ‘Ali Kazim established credit lines with many of the Persian immigrants who flocked to the city.38 ‘Ali Kazim Bushehri. He bought large quantities of provisions from Bushehr and resold them at an inflated price when famine and epidemics struck the city. the head of the Kazimi branch of the family. show the ways in which patronage . In 1923 he was eventually paid back by his son with the transfer of their family house in Bushehr. who was among the original founders of the ma’tam with the Zalu brothers. the two most influential ‘Ajam notables of their generation and leaders of the Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir. the head of the Muniri branch of the family. the first recorded leader.40 The careers of ‘Abd al-Nabi. ‘Ali Kazim helped a poor ‘Ajam immigrant for 15 years by giving him food and cash.39 Ahmad. six shops and one hawtah. Bandar ‘Abbas and Bombay. The oral history of the Bushehr family recounts a number of episodes which show the extent to which patronage represented an investment for the Persian notability. the son of Ahmad Bushehri.

By the mid-nineteenth century the popular districts of Hammam and Mukharaqa were still in the making. which were located east of the suq and the port. ‘Ali Kazim’s fortune was partly invested in houses. As they were unable to buy properties in the suq (which was under the control of the relatives of Shaykh ‘Isa b. ‘Abd al-Nabi Bushehri built the British Political Agency in 1900 and renovated the Khamis Mosque and the British base in 1927. particularly to Mukharaqa. and contributed to the building of famous pieces of Bahrain’s traditional architecture such as the house of Shaykh Khalaf al-Asfur and the Sakhir Palace. started his career under ‘Abd al-Nabi. By 1888 a new district named ‘Ajam had developed close to Mukharaqa. At the beginning of the twentieth century ‘Abd al-Nabi Bushehri brought to Bahrain the Ruyan. empty spaces which defined the boundaries between the city and its hinterland. Shekib. In 1932 and 1934 he donated a large number of properties located in Bu Sirra and in the neighbouring village of Na‘im to his children Amina. whose head. which were occasionally referred to as farig al-‘Ajam (the Persian quarter) in the commercial and legal documents of the early twentieth century. Husayn.50 Nelida Fuccaro networks along ethnic lines contributed to the accumulation of merchant capital and to the development of the infrastructure and built environment of Manamah. In the 1920s the two Persian neighbourhoods of Mushbir and Bu Sirra were still expanding. . after the 1930s. Laki and Bu Sirra as a result of the need to accommodate extended families and clients. of the oil industry. ‘Ali) they directed their wealth towards the development of the popular neighbourhoods. Mushbir.41 The settlement of patrons and clients in the residential districts of Manamah can be followed through the development of new residential districts. Building contractors such as ‘Abd al-Nabi Bushehri and ‘Abd al-Nabi Kazruni acquired land to build houses and hut compounds. Zar Haydar Banna’. Husayn Banna’. food and services became in itself an important market in the urban economy as a result of the growth of the city and. Abu Qasim and Bomoni. It constituted a direct source of income from rents as the control of housing. Persian notables started to invest in hawtahs and immovable property in the residential areas of the city.43 Ownership of real estate represented important political capital which assured the continuation and enlargement of patronage networks. Sa‘ati and Ariyan families. who were employed in the construction industry. The first wave of Persian immigrants settled in Kanu and Fadhil. which became overpopulated. all of whom were involved in the building profession. as suggested by the presence of many hawtahs. The most successful group was that of the Ruyan. while Kazruni became involved in the construction of the Victoria Memorial Hospital in 1902/3. builders (bannas) and carpenters (najjars) started their careers under their protection. Many master builders (ustadhs). The oldest neighbourhoods of Manamah were Kanu and Fadhil. By the 1890s many of them had moved to the expanding residential districts of western Manamah. In the first three decades of the twentieth century the two ‘Abd al-Nabis became the wealthiest building contractors in the city and supported a steady inflow of skilled labourers from Iran. as mentioned above.42 Following a general trend among the mercantile elites of Manamah.

Mapping the transnational community 51 While the study of Persian mercantile elites suggests the development of residential units around patron–client alliances (protégés often residing close to their patrons). and in 1904 there was only one stone building. In the same year Shaykh Muhammad al-Khalifah.45 The history of the district of Zulm ‘Abad. The district was a major source of epidemics. which expanded around the Shi‘i cemetery and housed peddlers and petty shopkeepers by the 1930s. which intensified in the 1910s and 1920s. ‘Awadhiyyah expanded through successive waves of migrations.44 Often employed as day labourers by Persian merchants and building contractors. These immigrants could not acquire property or enter a mutually beneficial relation with established notables. which housed Persian Shi‘i immigrants from Bandar ‘Abbas. The ‘Awadhiyyah district was established in the 1890s by impoverished Sunni peasants from the ‘Awaz village of southern Iran. which were named after prominent notables. the settlement of impoverished peasants and unskilled labourers highlights different modes of community implantation in the city.46 . It eventually became an upmarket district when its residents started to acquire permanent land rights and rich notables built their houses there. In 1929 the majority of day labourers and dock workers in Manamah were ‘Ajam Shi‘i and were what the British Political Agent contemptuously called ‘the Persian cooly class’. the inhabitants of Zulm ‘Abad were resettled by the Manamah municipality south of ‘Awadhiyyah in 1923. a proto-working class employed mainly in the pearl industry and in menial jobs which included Baharnah. these localities were known by the geographic and ethnic origin of their settlers. they did not enter the patronage cycle by settling within the precincts of the city. attempted several times to evict the residents from their new homes by claiming ownership of the whole area. their numbers increased throughout the 1910s and 1920s. and its gloomy and depressing aspect spoilt the image of Manamah as a modern city. Unlike most neighbourhoods in central Manamah. Only in 1941 did the municipality of Manamah intensify efforts to keep in check the flow of illegal workers by enforcing a system of licences in conjunction with the passport office. Baluchis and freed slaves. head of the municipality of Manamah. Although the name of the new neighbourhood was changed from Zulm ‘Abad (the land of oppression) to ‘Adl ‘Abad (the land of justice) in 1938 the community was still extremely poor and had not yet acquired occupancy rights. Despite the imposition of strict inspections on cargo ships coming from Iran. They concentrated in ‘informal’ housing. They joined the dispossessed urban masses. a turbulent group which in 1903–4 and in 1923 was involved in the disturbances against the Najdis. which developed as tightly knit ‘ethnic clusters’ in eastern Manamah on marshland of no agricultural value. illustrates the precarious position of these urban communities. Originally settled on empty land in the Kanu district. Other informal settlements inhabited by Persians were the districts of Minawiyyah and Suqayyah. hut compounds locally known as barasti or ‘arish. was dotted with straw huts in 1899. which had appalling sanitation and living conditions. The area.

its political configuration was shaped by fragmented patterns of protection politics which often linked communal leaders to centres of power located outside the islands. As ‘foreigners’ the Persians fell under the protection of the British Political Agent. Although subjects of the Shaykh of Bahrain. and looked at Iran as their protector long before the consolidation of the dynastic nationalism of the Pahlavis. Arab Sunnis. The merchants often hired respected mullahs from Bushehr. During his tenure of office the Pahlavi government started to contribute to the school budget and students received Iranian diplomas. Students . the powerful merchant ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Qusaybi. Although not a political event in itself. history. After 1915 the National Union School (al-Ittihad. the venue where pupils and their families were exposed to the new nationalist discourse coming from Iran. Safar and Ramadan. a fluctuating and turbulent group. particularly in the context of a politically charged event such as the celebration of the martyrdom of Husayn. In the 1920s it became a hotbed of Pahlavi propaganda. Classes in Persian language. and curriculum and educational policies were extremely progressive. The Shi‘is were extremely reluctant to accept the imposition of British extraterritorial jurisdiction. The beginning of this school is linked to the threat of ‘Indianization’ felt by the Persian community of Manamah after the issue of the 1913 Order in Council which ushered in British direct intervention in the administration of Bahrain. English. a teacher from Abadan. taught as primary subjects. The Persian ma’tam was instrumental in fostering religious links with Iran. operated mainly through the local representative of Ibn Sa‘ud. Order. generally wealthy pearl merchants and families of tribal origin. recognized the authority of the rulers. as headmaster. created a very close identification between the community and the political centres of Shi‘ism. In 1927 the school appointed ‘Ali Akbar Pakrowan. instilled ‘love for the homeland’ into the pupils. Arabic and mathematics were taught alongside Shi‘i theology. but the community was divided.52 Nelida Fuccaro Political loyalties The political loyalties of the inhabitants of Manamah were divided. Shiraz and Qum as teachers of Shi‘i theology in the holy months of Muharram. The Najdis. In the same way as the city had developed economically and demographically through patronage networks and translocal flows. discipline and loyalty to the Shah became key moral values in the education of the children. the presence of these mullahs as educators. given their long-standing grievances against the tribal government. Textbooks were imported directly from Iran. as it became known in 1931) moved to the Fadhil district but continued to be supported by the same merchant families associated with al-‘Ajam al-Kabir. After 1926 the school uniforms were modelled on the military uniforms of Pahlavi Iran and an Iranian flag was displayed at the front of the school building. the Baharnah appealed to the British Political Agent and to their religious leaders. geography and literature. Sunni merchants accepted British protection but at the same time they could successfully appeal to the tribal rulers. Between 1913 and 1915 a primary school was established as an offshoot of the educational activities of al-‘Ajam al-Kabir.

49 The extent of the amount of property owned by the ‘Ajam community became apparent after the enforcement of compulsory registration in 1930.51 Those who maintained close contacts with Iran auctioned their properties and went back to their homeland. Until then. this was a clear attempt to bring the Persian community under the Shaykh’s jurisdiction. Fuelled by the public display of loyalty to Iran by the pupils of the Persian school. 1995. 219. Bahraini ‘Ajams held both Bahraini passports and Iranian identity cards which allowed them to travel to Iran. often arousing protests from Arab residents. . Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862–63). II. (London and Cambridge: Macmillan. the administration issued the Nationality and Property Laws in 1937. 6. Palgrave.47 While modern education through the activities of the Persian school started to shape the boundaries of the modern transnational community.50 The Persians were asked to renounce their political allegiance to Iran in exchange for the maintenance of their assets in Bahrain. 47 pp..Mapping the transnational community 53 marched every day in their uniforms with an Iranian flag in front of the procession on their way to the football playground. p. p. In this connection the 1937 legislation was conceived as the solution to what was widely perceived as ‘the growing Iranian problem’ in Bahrain. Following repeated official complaints from the Tehran government. Bushehri. 2 ‘Ali A. which shaped the political outlook of at least two generations of Manamah’s ‘Ajams. Iran did not recognize Bahrain as a sovereign state until independence from British control in 1970. which introduced modern notions of citizenship and restricted the right of ownership of immovable property to Bahraini nationals. 2 vols. which considered the Bahraini ‘Ajams as Persian subjects. ‘Struggle of [sic] National Identity’.52 Notes 1 W. 1865). the police force and in the commercial court (majlis al-‘urf ) heightened fears of direct Iranian interference in Bahrain. The new legislation created a sensation within the community: many applied for naturalization. in the tense political climate of the 1920s and 1930s large sections of the Arab population of the islands increasingly saw the ‘Ajam community as the longa manus of Iran. the Bahraini government issued a proclamation in 1929 to the effect that all persons born in Bahrain of foreign parents would be considered Bahraini subjects unless registered at the British Political Agency. vol. Until the 1950s rich Persians sent their children there. For many Persians the adoption of Bahraini nationality in the late 1930s represents a landmark in the history of the community as ‘the single most important event which started to alienate those strong historical links between the ‘Ajam of Bahrain and Iran’. unpublished typescript. The presence of a rich and influential group with representatives on the municipal council of Manama.48 Given the reluctance of most ‘Ajams to register as British protégés. G. who were considered Bahraini nationals according to the 1929 provisions. others attempted to retain their properties without adopting Bahraini citizenship by transferring them to their sons.

R/15/1/315. nephew of Shaykh ‘Isa: hibah document from Shaykh ‘Isa. with continuations of the same from the year 1817 to the close of the year 1831 by Lieutenant S. the Shaikh and the Administration (London: Croom Helm. and I. I. 161–235. Khuri. W. particularly text of agreements between Shaykh ‘Isa and Indian merchants. and from the latter period to the . The fish. New Arabian Studies. 16 Lorimer. files R/15/2/101. Belgrave. Lawson. A. 251. 47–72. Rumaihi. 1873–1971 (Manamah: Banurama al-Khalij. Bahrain: The Modernisation of Autocracy (Boulder: Westview. 12 J. 9 Khuri. p. Onley. ‘A Note on Land Tenure by the Ruling Family in Bahrain’. pp. 1908. unpublished typescript. 1999) for a discussion of cosmopolitanism in relation to both nationalism and Islam. Critique 17 (2000): 49–81. G. ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’. Lorimer. II. 62–70.. 14 On customs see IOR. pp. 1986). Francis Warden. also quoted by J. 60–3. 98. al-Tajir. 4 See M. 4th edn. 15 Bushehri Archive ( Manamah) (hereafter BA). London) (hereafter IOR). 2 and 3. Bahrain: Social and Political Change since the First World War (London and New York: Bowker. vol. Oman and Central Arabia. ‘Isa al-Khalifah dated Jumada al-Awwal 1358/June–July 1939. 13 IOR. D. Life and Land Use on the Bahraini Islands (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Larsen. 194–217. Muhammad ‘A. in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949. p. 1989). B. Bahrain. H.) from the year 1716 to the year 1817 prepared by Mr. 1960.54 Nelida Fuccaro 3 ‘Ali A. and M. chaps. R/15/2/806. 8 See India Office Records (British Library. Gazetteer. 1987). 1990). Bahrain: Social and Political Change. ‘Abdallah al-Tajir. Schumacher. 66. from 1832 to August 1844 by Lieutenant A. 13–15. vol. Lawson. 167–92. Bahrain 1920–1945. 1995. 10 vols. (Gerrards Cross: Archive Editions. 251. p. ‘Recent Developments in Labour Relations in Bahrain’. ‘Bahrain’. 47 pp. II: Geographical and Statistical. Bahrain in the 16th Century. ‘Administration Report on the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Maskat Political Agency for 1873–1874’.). I. 10 C. 1987). in The Arab Gulf States: Steps towards Political Participation (New York and London: Praeger. Khuri. J. 5 See R. ‘The Politics of Protection in the Gulf: The Arab Rulers and the British Resident in the Nineteenth Century Gulf ’. An Impregnable Island (Manamah: Ministry of Information. 1976). pp. on the 1923 and 1904 –5 disturbances. 6. Wali. Middle East Journal 13/2 (1959): 156–69. The meat market was in the hands of Shaykh Salman. Rumaihi. 7 On the reforms see F. J. pp. Tribe and State. Kervran. A. Fuccaro. Tribe and State. The Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. T. vol. 1980). 1998). Cosmopolitanism.). 1970). 11 M. vol. R/15/2/807. pp. by Charles Belgrave. Britain. pp. V/23/217. Peterson. 41–53. Meijer (ed. ‘Historical Sketch of the Utoobee Tribe of Arabs (Bahrein. 89. Kemball. chaps. ‘Isa who in 1923 took over the rulership of Bahrain from his father after he was deposed by the British. H. and Tajir. 85–117. Bushehri. 3 and 4. pp. p. Welcome to Bahrain (Manama: Stourbridge Mark & Moody Printers. E. Beiling. at pp. pp. fruit and vegetable markets were controlled by Shaykh Hamad b. pp. Jumada al-Thani 1330/May–June 1912. 6 N. pp. 1988). letter to Shaykh Hamad b. ‘Aqd al-lal fi tarikh awal (Manamah: Mu’assasah al-Ayyam. E. 50–74.173–80 on oil and labour relations. ‘Ritual Devotion among Shi‘i in Bahrain’ (PhD thesis: University of London. 35–77. 23 December 1931. R/15/1/315 and R/15/1/331. ‘Struggle of [sic] National Identity’. 105. 1983). 1994). Tribe and State in Bahrain. pp. p. 17 IOR. 5 Jumada al-Thani 1315/31 October 1897 and Jumada al-Thani 1317/October–November 1899. The Transformation of Social and Political Authority in an Arab State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 2 vols. al-Muharraq: ’umran madinah khalijiyyah. 2004. Bahrain 1920–1945. Hennel. G. F. Identity and Authenticity in the Middle East (Richmond: Curzon. (Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing. republished Farnborough: Gregg International. R/15/1/341 and L/P&S/10/81.

Mapping the transnational community 55
close of the year 1853 by Lieutenant H. F. Disbrowe, in ‘Selections from the Records of the Government of India 1849–1937’, fiche 1094, pp. 362, 367–8 and 383 ff.; ‘Memoranda on the resources, localities, and relations of the tribes inhabiting the Arabian shores of the Persian Gulf, 1845’ by A. B. Kemball, Assistant Resident at Bushire, in ‘Selections from the Records of the Government of India 1849–1937’, fiche 1090–1, p.106; Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. I: Historical, pp. 841–3 and 866–72; Palgrave, Narrative of a Year’s Journey, vol. II, p. 209. From 118,000,000 rupees in 1873–4 to 774,990,000 rupees in 1899–1900: Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. I, p. 2252. Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. II, p. 1160. For the history of British extraterritorial jurisdiction in the Gulf see H. M. Albaharna, British Extra-territorial Jurisdiction in the Gulf, 1913–1971 (Slough: Archive Editions, 1998). On the history, administration and records of the court of the Political Agent in Bahrain see IOR, catalogue of the series R/15/3 (‘Political Agency, Bahrain: Political Agent’s Court, 1913–1948’) and its introduction (pp. 107–22); J. Onley, ‘The Infrastructure of Informal Empire: A Study of Britain’s Native Agency in Bahrain, c.1816–1900’ (DPhil thesis: University of Oxford, 2001), pp. 166–75. BA, letter no. 113 of 1905 from Political Agent to ‘Ali Kazim Bushehri; author’s conversation with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Manamah, 22 April 2000. Evidence on the sale of land to Manamah merchants by members of the al-Khalifah family is often fragmentary but well documented in local archives and in the archives of the Department of Land Registration (Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs, Manama). See also IOR, R/15/2/807, memo from Belgrave to Political Agent, 19 November 1931. Official complaints started to be put forward in 1899 by the cousin of the ruler Shaykh Hamad b. Muhammad al-Khalifah to the British Resident in Bushehr. See IOR, R/15/1/316 and R/15/2/10. On customs R/15/1/317, ‘Note on an Interview between His Excellency the Viceroy and the Shaykh of Bahrain’, 27 November 1903; R/15/1/315, correspondence from Assistant Political Resident in Bushehr to Political Resident, 28 May1899. Conversation with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Manamah, 15 June1998. Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. I, pp. 2049–67, 2096–7, 2128–36 and 2595–6, vol. II, p. 1095. I am indebted to James Onley for having drawn my attention on the shift of currency in this period. By 1901 new krans and nickel coins were put in circulation by the Persian government in an attempt to energize the local currency. See ‘Administration Report on the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Maskat Political Agency for 1898–1899’, in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949, vol. IV, p. 7 and ‘Administration Report for 1901–1902’, in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949, vol. IV, p. 1. See ‘Administration Reports on the Persian Gulf Political Residency and Maskat Political Agency from 1873 to 1905’, in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949, vol. I, p. 5; Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. I, pp. 2052 and 2132. Value of tea imports: 1873 200 Rs, 1880 18,500 Rs, 1904 31,400 Rs; Persian cloaks: 1873 4,500 Rs, 1880 15,000 Rs, 1901 21,900 Rs; rosewater: 1873 5,800 Rs, 1880 3,100 Rs, 1904 10,500 Rs; liquors: 1873 500 Rs, 1880 650 Rs, 1904 3,000 Rs; books: 1880 1,000 Rs, 1904 11,350 Rs; shoes: 1877 1,125 Rs, 1880 1,750 Rs, 1904 7,570 Rs. ‘Administration Reports for the Years 1873–1874, 1880–1881, 1901–1902 and 1904–1905’, in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949, vol. I, pp. 54 –61, vol. II, pp. 134–43, vol. V, pp. 107–13 and 152–3; Palgrave, Narrative of a Year’s Journey, vol. II, pp. 211–12; Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. II, p. 345. ‘Administration Report for the years 1902–1903’, in The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949, vol. V, pp. 35 and 180. They were ‘Ali Haydar Banna’ Ruyan, Mahmud Bushehri, Husayn ‘Ali Kazim Bushehri and Khalil Dawani. BA, handwritten minutes of first meeting of the committee, 15 Shawwal 1371.

18 19 20

21 22


24 25

26 27

28 29


Nelida Fuccaro

30 I am extremely grateful to ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri for having shared with me information and documentation on his family and other ‘Ajam groups of Bahrain. 31 ‘Ali A. Bushehri, ‘The Struggle of a Family’, BA, typescript, n.d., 222 pp., p. 114, ‘List of Persian merchants – Shi‘i’ and BA, ‘Family trees of Beder, Dawani and Beljik familes’. 32 BA, ‘Kazruni family tree’. 33 Onley, ‘The Infrastructure of Informal Empire’, pp. 191–227 and 238. 34 Onley, ‘The Infrastructure of Informal Empire’; ‘Safar family tree by Aqa Muhammad Rahim Safar, 1898’, ‘Safar Family tree’ and ‘Sharif family tree’, appendix E 4 (a), (b) and 5. 35 As in the case of the powerful Kanu family. See K. M. Kanoo, The House of Kanoo: A Century of an Arabian Family Business (London: London Centre of Arab Studies, 1997). 36 Lorimer, Gazetteer, vol. II, p. 1160. 37 ‘Ali A. Bushehri, ‘Bahrain Population’, unpublished typescript, 1999, 7 pp., p. 4. 38 BA, ‘Daftar ma’tam al-‘ajam al-kabir, 1342–1372 (1929–1951)’. Information on waqf properties in BA, ‘Daftar buzur (1 Muharram 1351–10 Muharram 1352/7 May 1932–5 May 1933)’; ‘Ilan amin al-sunduq (‘Ali Kazim Bushehri), 19 Dhu al-Hijjah 1371/9 September 1952’; ‘A. Seyf, al-Ma’tam fil bahrayn ( Manamah: Matba‘ah al-Sharqiyyah, 1995), pp. 108–11. 39 Bushehri, ‘The Struggle of a Family’, pp. 115–19 and 121. 40 Ibid., pp. 124–5. 41 Oral history of the Bushehri family, Manamah, June 1998; ‘Ali A. Bushehri, ‘The Master Builder of Bahrain’, The Gulf Mirror, February 1987, issue no. 8. 42 Fuccaro, ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’, pp. 66–72; Bushehri, ‘The Struggle of a Family’, p. 111. 43 BA, hibah documents dated 10 Shawwal 1350 and 18 Ramadan 1353/17 February 1932. 44 Confidential despatch from Political Agent Bahrain to Political Resident Bushehr, 7 April 1929, no. C-50 of 1929, IOR, L/P&S/10/1045; R/15/2/1925, ‘Jalsat baladiyyah al-manama’, 10 Jumada al-Thani 1361/11 October 1932. 45 There are no written historical records on the development of these neighbourhoods. See sketch attached to letter of S. M. Zwemer to American Board of Foreign Missions, 28 November 1899, Historical Documentation Centre ( Rifa‘, Bahrain). While in the 1930s and 1940s ‘Awadhiyyah became a quarter of modern Manamah, Minawiyyah and Suqayyah were integrated in the new residential district of al-Hurah. 46 Correspondence from Political Resident Bushehr to Government of India, 10 November 1923, no. 626-S of 1923, IOR, R/15/2/127; confidential correspondence from Charles Belgrave to Political Agent, 28 March 1938, no. 196/S.F., R/15/2/807; Political Agent minutes, 27 February and 6 April 1936 and Jalsat baladiyyah al-Manamah, 9 and 23 Jumada al-Awwal 1347/23 October and 6 November 1928, R/15/2/1923. 47 ‘Ali A. Bushehri, ‘The National Union School’, unpublished typescript, n.d., 17 pp.; BA, contract of rent of the first school building, 1 Rabi‘ al-Thani 1334/5 February 1916; exam certificate, 10 Rabi‘ al-Thani 1335/3 February 1917; curriculum of the National Union School (dabistan ittihad melli bahrayn), 1956. 48 IOR, R/15/2/150, ‘Ilan no.1101/17/1347, 17 Ramadan 1347/27 February 1929 (reissue no. 50/1351, 4 Dhu al-Hijjah 1351/31 March 1933). 49 Bahrain Nationality Law, 17 February 1937/ King’s Regulation no. 1 of 1937 under article 70 (b) of the Bahrein Order in Council, 8 May 1937/King’s Regulation no. 2 of 1937 made under article 70 of the Bahrein Order-in-Council, 1913, 9 September 1937, in King’s Regulations, Order in Council and Bahrain’s Regulations, 1913–1958 (London: HMSO, 1958); BA ‘Qanun imtilak amlak al-ghayr al-manqula fil bahrayn bi wasitat al-ajanib’, 6 Dhu al-Hijjah 1355/18 February 1937. 50 ‘Note on the Persian Communities at Bahrain’ by Political Agent, 4 November 1929 included in Correspondence to Political Resident, IOR, L/P&S/10/1045; file R/15/2/150; Tajir, Bahrain 1920–1945, pp. 25–6.

Mapping the transnational community 57
51 IOR, R/15/2/151. 52 M. al-Shuja‘i, ‘al-Idtihad al-‘irqi fil bahrayn “al-‘ajam’ ”, unpublished typescript, n.d., 74 pp., p. 15. Quotation translated by the author.

Official reports and typescripts
Bushehri, ‘A. A. ‘Struggle of [sic] National Identity’, unpublished typescript, 1995, 47 pp. Bushehri, ‘A. A. ‘Bahrain Population’, unpublished typescript, 1999, 7 pp. Bushehri, ‘A. A. ‘The National Union School’, unpublished typescript, n.d., 17 pp. ‘Historical Sketch of the Utoobee Tribe of Arabs (Bahrein) from the year 1716 to the year 1817 prepared by Mr Francis Warden; with continuations of the same from the year 1817 to the close of the year 1831 by Lieutenant S. Hennel; from 1832 to August 1844 by Lieutenant A. B. Kemball; and from the latter period to the close of the year 1853 by Lieutenant H. F. Disbrowe in Selections from the Records of the Government of India 1849–1937’, V/23/217, fiche 1094, India Office Records. King’s Regulations, Order in Council and Bahrain’s Regulations, 1913–1958 (London: HMSO, 1958). Lorimer, J. G. The Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman and Central Arabia, 2 vols. (Calcutta: Superintendent Government Printing, 1908; republished Farnborough: Gregg International, 1970). ‘Memoranda on the Resources, Localities, and Relations of the Tribes Inhabiting the Arabian Shores of the Persian Gulf, 1845’ by A. B. Kemball, Assistant Resident at Bushire, in ‘Selections from the Records of the Government of India 1849–1937’, V/23/217, fiche1090–1, India Office Records. The Persian Gulf Administration Reports 1873–1949 (Gerrards Cross: Archive Editions, 1986), 10 vols. al-Shuja‘i, M. ‘al-Idtihad al-‘irqi fil bahrayn “al-‘ajam’”, unpublished typescript, n.d., 74 pp.

Archival materials India Office Records (British Library, London)
R/15/1 series (Gulf Residency Records) Files 315, 316, 317, 331, 341 R/15/2 series (Bahrain Political Agency Records, 1900–47) Files 10, 101, 127, 150, 151, 806, 807, 1923, 1925 R/15/3 series (Political Agency, Bahrain: Political Agent’s Court, 1913–1948) Introduction to catalogue, pp. 107–22 L/P&S/10 series (Political and Secret Department Correspondence) Files 81, 1045

Bushehri Archive (Manamah, Bahrain)
Documentation from the Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir (Manamah), 1342–72 Documentation on the Persian School (Manamah), 1334–76 Hibah documents series, family collection


Nelida Fuccaro

Books and articles
Albaharna, H. M. British Extra-territorial Jurisdiction in the Gulf, 1913–1971, Slough: Archive Editions, 1998. Beiling, W. A. ‘Recent Developments in Labour Relations in Bahrain’, Middle East Journal 13/2 (1959): 156–69. Belgrave, J. H. D. Welcome to Bahrain, Manamah: Stourbridge Mark & Moody Printers, 1960, 4th edn. Bushehri, ‘A. A. ‘The Master Builder of Bahrain’, The Gulf Mirror, February 1987, issue no. 8. Fuccaro, N. ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’, Critique 17 (2000): 49–81. Kanoo, K. M. The House of Kanoo: A Century of an Arabian Family Business, London: London Centre of Arab Studies, 1997. Kervran, M. Bahrain in the 16th Century. An Impregnable Island, Manamah: Ministry of Information, 1998. Khuri, F. I. Tribe and State in Bahrain. The Transformation of Social and Political Authority in an Arab State, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980. Larsen, C. E. Life and Land Use on the Bahraini Islands, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983. Lawson, F. H. Bahrain: The Modernisation of Autocracy, Boulder: Westview, 1989. Meijer, R. (ed.) Cosmopolitanism, Identity and Authenticity in the Middle East, Richmond: Curzon, 1999. Onley, J. ‘The Infrastructure of Informal Empire: A Study of Britain’s Native Agency in Bahrain, c.1816–1900’, D.Phil. thesis: University of Oxford, 2001. Onley, J. ‘The Politics of Protection in the Gulf: The Arab Rulers and the British Resident in the Nineteenth Century Gulf ’, New Arabian Studies, vol. 6, 2004. Palgrave, W. G. Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862–63), 2 vols., London and Cambridge: Macmillan, 1865. Peterson, J. E. The Arab Gulf States: Steps towards Political Participation, New York and London: Praeger, 1988. Rumaihi, M. G. Bahrain: Social and Political Change since the First World War, London and New York: Bowker, 1976. Schumacher, I. A. ‘Ritual Devotion among Shi‘i in Bahrain’, Ph.D. thesis: University of London, 1987. Seyf, ‘A. al-Ma’tam fil bahrayn, Manamah: Matba’ah al-Sharqiyyah, 1995. al-Tajir, M. ’A. Bahrain 1920–1945. Britain, the Shaikh and the Administration, London: Croom Helm, 1987. al-Tajir, M. ’A. ‘Aqd al-lal fi tarikh awal, Manamah: Mu’assasah al-Ayyam, 1994. Wali, T. al-Muharraq: ’umran madinah khalijiyyah, 1873–1971, Manamah: Banurama al-Khalij, 1990. The author is indebted to ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri’s generosity and to the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Board and Leverhulme Trust which have funded my research in Bahrain in 2000 and 2002–3.

. . . men wholly dressed. George Curzon. Portuguese half-castes . an Afghan with unkempt black locks curling upon his shoulders. and voluminous white pantaloons. a fat Turk sipping his gritty coffee. . . language. . its white silk-fringed cloth worn Banian fashion round the waist. are often to be seen mingling with the light garments of Bahreyn. the white robe of Nejed. let me describe the last recollection that is imprinted upon the retina of the traveller’s memory. Mussulman pilgrims from the holy places of Sunni or Shiah. . . ‘among them. and mainly from Guzerat. some of whom have been established here for many generations back. . half dressed. stuck sideways on their heads. . and religion. and almost naked . G. I have seen many quaint conglomerations of colour. . . and the striped gown of Bagdad. and still retaining more or less the physiognomy and garb of their native countries. and their vicinity.3 Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf The case of the Safar family1 James Onley Mixed with the indigenous population [of Manamah] are numerous strangers and settlers. – surely a more curious study in polyglot or polychrome could not well be conceived. Indian Buniahs in preternaturally tight white cotton pants. the saffron-stained vest of ’Oman. with shining contrast of skin and teeth. and white. and its frock-like overall. Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1865)2 In taking leave of the Persian Gulf. Thus the gay-coloured dress of the southern Persian. keep up here all their peculiarities of costume and manner. . one or two negroes. but rarely any more diversified than this. . or cooking the food which no one else may defile by contact. . men black. attracted from other lands by the profits of either commerce or the pearl fishery. Cutch. men with silver rings round their big toes and pearl buckles in their ears. and live among the motley crowd. . . Parsi merchants decked in Bombay-made clothes of doubtful English cut. while a small but unmistakable colony of Indians. saying their prayers . copper-coloured. bearded Beluchis. merchants by profession. . dust-coloured. race. Persia and the Persian Question (1892)3 . W. a Persian dealer carrying horses to Bombay. a poshtin (sheepskin) waistcoat. and with daintily-embroidered caps. . but not of them’. The fore deck of a Gulf steamer presents one of the most curious spectacles that can be imagined. Arabs in their soiled silk kefiehs and camel’shair head-bands . . and awaking bubbles from his eternal kalian. orthodox Hindus conducting their ablutions in a corner. slate-coloured. Palgrave. its blue and red turban.

and returned to our ancestral Arabia . culture and activities of one Gulf merchant family in the nineteenth century: the Safar family of Hillah. Thus. because much of my early life was influenced by the fact that in my grandfather’s time my family crossed the waters of the Gulf from the coastal plains of Iran. Ulrike Freitag and William Clarence-Smith (1997). Easa Saleh al-Gurg: Where do I begin? Before I was born. life in Lingah. occupied and governed by Arabs.5 There have also been some recent articles exploring the transnational connections of Gulf Arab ports and their merchant communities. Calvin Allen (1981) and Philip Curtin (1984) – have greatly expanded our understanding of the historical transnational connections between the Middle East and Asia. in which she discusses nine families in the space of seven pages.6 Those studies of Gulf merchant families that do exist give little or no attention to the transnational aspects of these families. Claude Markovits (2000) and others – building on the pioneering works of Ashin Das Gupta (1960–92). for my own family. Foremost among the Gulf ’s transnationals were the merchants who.7 One of the reasons for this is the desire of Gulf Arab families today to downplay or deny their transnational heritage in response to the Arabization policies of the Gulf Arab governments. Exciting new works by Patricia Risso (1995). Transnational merchant studies and the Gulf Transnational merchant studies is an emerging sub-field within Middle Eastern and South Asian studies. from the region known as Fars. Lingah was an Arab town. more than any other group. Bushehr (Bushire). the decision to return to Arabia must have represented a considerable surrender of much of what made life pleasant. This desire is well illustrated by an introductory passage from the autobiography of the present Emirati Ambassador to Britain. Mocha (al-Mukha). as the quotations above vividly illustrate. Though it was located on the Persian coast. Basrah. . Some managed the customs administrations in a number of Gulf ports. Manamah. connected eastern Arabia to the wider world. but merchant families per se are not their focus. was evidently good. At the time. . They lived dual lives. whose language and culture determined its .60 James Onley Introduction The nineteenth-century Gulf was a remarkably transnational space. They dominated the import–export sector of the region. Hudaydah and Bombay.4 The closest we have to a study of transnational merchant families in the Gulf is Hala Fattah’s 1997 book on regional trade in Arabia and Iraq. . This chapter examines the transnational connections. but without the use of local archives. speaking two or more languages and keeping homes in two or more countries. Denys Lombard and Jean Aubin (2000). certainly. Muscat. Some came to play a central role in regional politics by acting as intermediaries between foreign governments or companies and local rulers and their subjects. the town on the Iranian coast in which my forefathers had settled. Shiraz.

1 The Gulf in its wider geographical context. .Samarkand IRAQ Mashhad Tehran Kabul Isfahan Hamadan Kermanshah Dizful Shushtar BAGHDAD VILAYET Cairo Suez Canal Baghdad Karbala Hillah EGYPT Basrah Kerman Shiraz Ahvaz Muhammarah Behbahan BASRAH VILAYET PERSIA (IRAN) AFGHANISTAN A Bushire Delhi Bandar Abbas Bahrain THE GULF Jask B NEPAL R Medina NAJD A BALUCHISTAN Chahabar Gwadar Karachi GULF OF OMAN Muscat KUTCH GUJARAT SIND Jedda Mecca ARABIA C O A S BENGAL T INDIA Calcutta RED SEA OMAN ARABIAN SEA Surat Bombay Hudaydah Hyderabad Mocha Aden Madras SOMALI COAST AFRICA INDIAN OCEAN Map 3.

not Persian.12 Qatar is a sovereign and independent Arab state.17 A historian relying on accounts of a Gulf Arab family provided by the family itself is.13 The Federation [of the UAE] is a part of the wider Arab homeland. is the scarcity of sources.8 Al-Gurg goes on to emphasize his Arab heritage and to downplay the fact that his family name is not Arab at all. independent and fully sovereign . My immediate forebears were pearl merchants and landowners and enjoyed the products of that life abundantly. let alone those with transnational connections. In the Gulf today. Bahrain. public discussion about the Persian. Indian and African mothers of past shaykhs and shaykhas is strongly discouraged. Islamic national character. Islamic. The distinctly Arab character of Lingah and of my own background is evidenced by the fact that every one of these deeds is in Arabic. Islam is the official religion of the country and the Shariah is the principal source of legislation . The only exceptions appear to be Oman and. as their national constitutions make clear: Kuwait is an Arab State. and destiny. . I still retain the title deeds to the lands which we owned in Dishgaan and Lingah. since 2000. . The people of Kuwait are a part of the Arab Nation. Historical records of families such as the Kanoos. The Gulf Arab states have become preoccupied with cultural autonomy and the maintenance of a purely Arabian.10 The Kingdom of Bahrain is a fully sovereign independent Islamic Arab State whose population is part of the Arab nation and whose territory is part of the Arab homeland. to which it is connected by a shared religion. likely to be presented with a tailored past serving present-day interests. language. Another reason why there have been so few studies of Gulf merchant families. .14 The Sultanate of Oman is an independent.9 Gulf Arabs with a transnational heritage such as al-Gurg are sensitive about their genealogy because identity is a political issue. .15 The ruling families themselves have set an example by erasing all evidence of their transnational connections from their national histories. but Persian.16 Shi‘i Arabs are also discriminated against. . Gulf nationals unable to claim Arabian ancestry and tribal affiliation are normally barred from senior positions in government. while Gulf nationals with no Arab ancestry whatsoever are barred from all but the most junior positions. . . therefore. al-Zarbs and Safars are few and far . but to varying degrees from state to state. The people of the Federation are one and are a part of the Arab nation. fully sovereign state with Muscat as its capital.11 The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic state with Islam as its religion. . Arab. The official language is Arabic and the Qatari people are part of the Arab nation.62 James Onley character . .

Khalid Kanoo – the Group Managing Director of the Kanoo Group of Companies. and still is. In 1989. exporting and shipping goods of every description throughout the Gulf region and beyond. and infested with insects.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 63 between. Hudaydah and Bombay. the caretaker of the Safar family records in Bahrain. Members of the Safar family typically moved from one house to another as their careers progressed. In the nineteenth century at least three members of the Safar family ranked as Grade I merchants – the wealthiest and the most influential men in the Gulf after the local ruling elite. Countless collections have been discarded since the 1950s by uninterested family members. later working on their own or with an uncle. The day before the building’s scheduled demolition.20 They maintained an extensive business network with merchant houses in Bushehr. Iraq. the contractor who had been hired to demolish the building casually mentioned to Khalid that some old papers had been left in the house. Although the family was dispersed throughout Arabia.19 The government of Bahrain’s destruction in the early 1980s of the tens of thousands of Dilmun burial mounds. including the loss of his own family records in 1973 while he was away from Bahrain reading for a degree in history.21 These merchant houses operated as a loose conglomerate – sometimes engaged in joint ventures with each other. and possibly Hillah and Basrah. Chairman of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry. the Safar family might well have discarded them and I would not be writing about the Safar family today. importing.22 The family’s prosperity is reflected in their substantial property holdings: date plantations near Basrah and Manamah. and caretaker of the Kanoo family archive in Bahrain – tells a dramatic story of how he rescued his family’s historical records from destruction.18 ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri.23 Land-owning was. Muscat. Hudaydah and Bombay’s prestigious Fort district. Bushehr was at the centre of the family’s activities in the nineteenth century. Unfortunately. is symbolic of this widespread and ongoing destruction of historical documents. a considerable status symbol in the Gulf. These records had been long neglected: they were covered in dust and cobwebs. he can tell you far more about the destruction of historical collections. artefacts and buildings in the Gulf Arab states. and houses and property in Bushehr. Khalid raced to the house. sometimes operating on their own. Mocha. He broke in and found 46 boxes of company and family records dating from 1899 to 1955. Mocha. Muscat. initially working with their fathers. Shiraz. They now form the bulk of the Kanoo Archive at Khalid’s private residence in Bahrain. Manamah. the family decided to replace its historical home in Manamah with a modern building. which contained a treasure-trove of ancient artefacts dating from 2000–600 BCE. Khalid carted the records home and had them cleaned and treated with insecticide. which he found locked and boarded up. Persia and India. The family’s . tells yet another rescue story. Manamah. Had it not been for Akbar’s preservation of the Safar family records. The Safar family The Safars were prosperous general merchants in the nineteenth century.

Bushehr.64 James Onley principal Bushehr residence was a large. Bahrain). ‘I am of Arab descent. Further evidence of a Persian origin is the fact that virtually all members of the family spoke Farsi as a mother tongue and that most had Persian titles such as agha (which they pronounced ‘au’ as only the Bakhtiyari do).1. .26 Many of the Safars were Persian subjects. but my family has been many years resident in Persia. and a photograph taken in the late 1890s of the head of the family. The ethnic identity of the Safar family in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is difficult to establish because the Iranian and Bahraini branches of the family do not agree on this aspect of their history. who once explained. the Governor of Bushehr’s residence (centre).28 This claim is supported by none other than Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar himself. c. 35 miles south of the Ottoman provincial capital of Baghdad. his nineteenth-century descendants maintained Bait Safar Gulf Residency Figure 3.1970 (Bushehri Archive. known as Bayt Safar (Safar House). clearly shows him wearing a Persian-style turban – see Figure 3.30 Although Hajji Safar later moved to Persia.’29 The family tree drawn by him shows him to be the great-grandson of Hajji Safar.1 Bayt Safar (left). impressive building located on the waterfront in the Kuti district of town next to the residences of the Governor of Bushehr and Britain’s Political Resident in the Gulf. symbolized the family’s great affluence – see Figure 3. mirza and khan.27 The Safars of Bahrain. Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar. and the Gulf Residency headquarters (right). Persian – possibly Bakhtiyari (a tribal group from western Persia that speaks a dialect of Farsi).2. however.25 This belief is supported by a detailed genealogical account of the family written by a traveller who visited the Safars in Bushehr in 1896. a Shi‘i Arab born in Hillah. The Safars of Bushehr believe that the family originates from Hamadan in western Iran and is. believe that their male ancestors were Shi‘i Arabs from southern Iraq. therefore.24 The size and prestigious location of the house.

he is also wearing an Arab ‘abah or bisht (cloak). although he is wearing a Persian-style turban. Qashqa’is and Baluchis. Arabs.1.33 The Arab–Persian hybridity of the Safar family is evident from their marriage patterns. In the twentieth century this hybridity gradually disappeared. A closer inspection of the photograph of Muhammad Rahim reveals that. speak Farsi as . ‘Persian’ refers to the indigenous inhabitants of Persia who speak Persian (Farsi) as their mother tongue. it seems that the best description of many of the nineteenth-century Safars is that some of them were Persianized Arabs or Persians of Arab descent (similar to the hawalah32) and some of them were Arabized Persians. and think of themselves as Arabs. Azeris. c. Bahrain.31 All things considered.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 65 Figure 3.34 The Safars of Bushehr today have an Iranian identity – they claim Persian roots. In this study. 1778–1900 Persian Arab African Indian 21 (10 from the Sharif family) 10 (6 from the Safar family) 4 (all Abyssinian slaves) 1 a strong connection with Iraq and Arabia: many were born there. many were buried there. Turkomans.1898–9 (Bushehri Archive. speak Arabic as their mother tongue. rather than to all the peoples of Persia (pre-modern Iran) such as the Persians.1 Known Safar spouses. and many spoke Arabic. The Safars of Bahrain today have an Arab identity – they were born in Bahrain to a Shi‘i Arab mother from Karbala in southern Iraq.2 Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar (centre) and his Arab staff. Shahsevans. many lived there. summarized in Table 3. Kurds. Bahrain). many owned property there. Table 3.

who was the Shaykh of Muhammarah in south-western Persia (r. Bahrain and Bombay. Muhammad Saddiq. Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan had been born in Hillah around 1803 and had worked under his father in Mocha. Omani and Indian branches of the family.1805). He continued to live in Bahrain until 1842. In 1802. Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul. his two sons in Bombay.40 which was about three times the monthly salary of Britain’s highly paid Political Resident in the Gulf. Mocha. Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul (b. He was married to the sister of Shaykh Hajji Jabir Khan al-Muhaisin. and think of themselves as Iranians.44 One can estimate the degree of his affluence from a loan he made in 1863 to the Commander of HMS Clyde for Ks 8. c. On the Safar family tree drawn in the 1960s. who remained there for the rest of his life. He may have purchased his substantial properties in Bombay’s Fort district at this time. He lived there for six or seven years. known locally as Bayt al-‘Ajami (the Persian’s House). three of whom became merchants – see the family tree in Table 3. Hajji Hasan and Hajji Ghulam Husain.35 The Iraqi. Muhammad ‘Ali moved to Mocha. he is given the title of beg (chief). Muhammad ‘Ali moved to his father’s hometown of Hillah. carried on as before. Persia’s principal port in the Gulf. By the 1850s. Bombay and Bushehr. he handed the business over to his second eldest son. a title used both by the Ottomans and the Bakhtiyari. at the age of 24.39 After trading for 20 years in Yemen. Yemeni. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar. during which time he purchased two large date plantations near Basrah. Muhammad ‘Ali moved to Bahrain where he established another merchant house. his son in Mocha. He had four sons. having established an extensive family business network with sons in Bushehr. Bahrain.200). Hajji Muhammad Jafar and Hajji Muhammad Hasan. may similarly define their identity in relation to their locale. Muhammad ‘Ali took leave of his post to go on hajj to Mecca. ‘Abd al-Nabi had become one of the principal merchants of Bushehr. Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan. he moved to Bushehr.41 At some point between 1835 and 1839. Hillah and Basrah may have also been included in this network. Bayt Safar. a loan which enabled the Clyde to return . as was Muscat. The eldest son. looked after the family’s business interests in India.000. which suggests that he was a merchant. where another merchant house was managed by Muhammad ‘Ali’s brother Hajji Hasan.38 In 1809.36 Hajji Safar was probably born in the 1740s and appears to have been a man of considerable status and wealth.42 In the last year or two of his life.000 (Rs 3.43 After Muhammad ‘Ali’s death in 1845.2.66 James Onley a mother tongue. One can estimate the degree of his affluence during this time from a loan he made to the East India Company for Rs 7. was born in Bushehr in 1778. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar. took over the family business in Bushehr. which are no longer in touch with the Bahraini and Iranian branches. 1819–81) and a Shi‘i Arab. where he established a merchant house. Muhammad ‘Ali moved back to his hometown of Bushehr.37 At some point before 1778. and his eldest son. These estates remained in family hands for over a hundred years and were worth nearly a quarter of a million rupees by the late nineteenth century. From Mocha. when he moved to Bombay where his brother Muhammad Saddiq lived.

1870).1870– 93. Bahrain (1893–1900). Hudaydah. Hajji Muhammad Hasan Hajji Muhammad Jafar A merchant in Bombay. A merchant. Died in 1929 in Hillah. traded in Bushehr. Bushehr. ‘Adel A prominent businessman in Bahrain and a former Mukhtar (District Mayor) of Manamah. Khadijah Lived in Bahrain.1803–84) A merchant. ‘Abd al-Wahhab Lived in Muscat.1805) and traded in Mocha (from 1809 to sometime after 1855). Dr Wadi‘ Dr Suhayla A consultant The wife of Dr ‘Ali Fakroo. Umm al-Khair Lived in Bahrain. Dr Thoraya A veterinarian in Bahrain. 1909–24). France (1995–2000). Bahrain (c. Bibi Khair al-Nisa Married to Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif. Muhammad Lived in Bushehr. Dr Jan (Jahan) A consultant psychiatrist in the UK (lives near Manchester). lived in Mocha. Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif Born in Bushehr (c. Born in Bombay. Died in 1934. Persia. and Basra (1924–40). Fatimah Lived in Bahrain. Bombay.2 The Safar family tree (abridged) Hajji Safar Beg Likely a merchant. and Bahrain sometime before 1884. Died in A merchant. Moved to Bushehr in 1845. Born in Bushehr (1778). Son (name unknown) Na‘imah Muhammad ‘Abd al-Nabi Lived in Iraq.1820/30s–56). Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul A merchant. Born in Hillah (c. ‘Abd al-Rasul Lived in Muhammarah (Persia).1884–c. Served the British Crown Note The family changed its name to al-Safar in the 1960s. Kuwait (1900–04). Born c.Table 3. Born in Bushehr. Bombay (1842–?) and Bushehr (?–1845). ‘Abd al-Rasul c. 1900–04. (1872–91). 1884) and Bushehr (c. Hajji Ghulam Husain Hajji Hasan A merchant. ‘Abd al-Razzaq Lived in Muscat. Agha Muhammad Saddiq A merchant in Bombay (c. . Muhammad ‘Ali Lived in Bushehr.1885–95) ‘Abd al-Khaliq Lived in Muscat. Born in Hillah.1911). and Bahrain. Lived in Muscat and died there. Lived in Bushehr. Hajji Muhammad ‘Ali Born in Bushehr. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar A merchant. lived in Hillah (1802–9). gastroenterologist Bahrain‘s Ambassador to in Bahrain.1740s in Hillah (Iraq). Bushehr in 1881. Persia. Mocha (1809–29). Muhammad Saddiq A merchant in Bombay. Hajji Muhammad Hasan Lived in Shiraz. Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan (c. died in Baghdad (c. Hajji Muhammad Hajji Mirza Ahmad Khan Lived in Mocha and Lived in Mocha (c. Died in 1892.1857–72). Died Bushehr (c.1829–42). Now lives in Bahrain. Bombay. Lived in Bushehr (c. Dr Nader A GP in Bahrain.1880–1928 Lived in Bahrain. lived in Bushehr (c.1830s–93) and Bahrain (1893–1900). and Ahvaz (Persia). ‘Ali Lived in Lived in Iraq. Ahmad 1905–1989 Lived in Bahrain. Bibi Nuri Jan Agha Muhammad Rahim Lived in Bushehr.

therefore. Bushehr and Bombay. 1850s and 1860s. lived in Mocha.000 (£1. but in the 1870s and 1880s he also lived in Bahrain for a large part of every year. When ‘Abd al-Nabi died in 1884. When Ahmad himself died in 1891.49 As with any building of note in Manamah at the time.1803–84). and possibly British Indian subject. mirza (a Shi‘i title indicating that one is descended from the Prophet through one’s mother). Bahrain and Bombay. In Bushehr he was assisted by his son. His title. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar (1778–1845) was born in Bushehr.47 He resided mainly in Bushehr in the 1840s. father and grandfather had lived before him. Bahrain and Bombay. is a common one in Persia. wrote his letters in Farsi and Arabic. where his cousin. Hillah. but they have long since lost touch with their cousins in Bushehr.45 This sum was about one-and-a-half times the Resident’s large monthly salary. His descendants still live there. and spoke Arabic and Farsi. Basrah. .50 These buildings. which accounted for the majority of dwellings in Manamah until the 1920s.48 and moved into Bayt Safar in Manamah. Bushehr’s economy had begun to decline while that of Manamah was prospering. onto which opened many slim double doors surmounted by semicircular stained-glass windows. with a large inner courtyard and deep verandas. Shiraz. merchants. John Zaytun. and latticed windows’. proprietors. was a Persian. with ogival arches. balconies. Hajji Ahmad Khan (son of Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul in Mocha). Agha Muhammad Rahim. was born in Hillah to a Persian mother from Bushehr. Mocha. in which dwelt ‘the nobler and wealthier inhabitants. the family returned to Bushehr and later sold Bayt Safar for Rs 22. lived in Hillah.68 James Onley to India after the British Political Resident in the Gulf (headquartered at Bushehr) had refused to pay any funds out of the Residency treasury. His eldest son. Ottoman. Ahmad continued to run things in Bahrain while Muhammad Rahim took over the family business in Bushehr. who had moved to the Gulf from Mocha many years before. Muhammad Rahim decided to move to Bahrain and make the island the new centre of the family’s business operations in the Gulf. it was most probably constructed in what William Palgrave called ‘the Persian style of architecture’.51 They stood in sharp contrast to the ‘mere palm-leaf cottages’. Bayt Safar commanded a prominent position on the waterfront and was reputedly large enough to have accommodated a thousand safety-seekers during the battle of Manamah (1842) in the first Bahraini civil war.46 ‘Abd al-Nabi maintained substantial business interests in Bushehr.52 When Muhammad Rahim died in 1900. and men of government’. Mocha.466-13-3) – eight times the Gulf Resident’s monthly salary of Rs 2. suggesting that his mother or maternal grandmother was Persian. Bahrain. porticoes. Bushehr. and in Bahrain he was helped by his nephew. He left affairs in Bushehr in the hands of his Christian business partner. Muscat. were typically two storeys high. which he described as ‘elegant and spacious. known as barasti huts. Hudaydah and Bombay. In 1893. terraces.750 – a vast sum considering the now dilapidated condition of the house.54 The Safar family’s great mobility in the nineteenth century had a demonstrable influence on its members. Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan Safar (c.53 Muhammad Rahim’s nephew ‘Abd al-Rasul bin Ahmad remained in Bahrain.

Hajji ‘Abd alRasul’s eldest son. and used the Persian titles mirza and khan. was born in Bombay to a Persian mother from Shiraz. wrote his letters in Farsi and Arabic.57 Ahmad’s eldest son.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 69 was a Persian subject. c. Arabic. was a British Indian subject. and spoke Farsi. lived in Bushehr and Bahrain. lived in Mocha. Bombay. ‘Abd alRasul (c. was born in Mocha to a Persian mother from Bushehr. Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul (b.3. was a Persian and Ottoman subject. Arabic and Hindi – see Figure 3. c. used the Persian title agha (commander. gentleman).55 kept his business records in Farsi. wrote in Farsi and Arabic.1830s–1900) was born in Bushehr to a Persian mother. Hajji Mirza Ahmad Khan (c. ‘Abd al-Nabi’s son Agha Muhammad Rahim (c.2). English and possibly Hindi. wrote his letters in Arabic. lived in Bahrain. was born in Bushehr to a Persian mother. lived in Bombay and Bushehr. spoke Arabic and Farsi. and spoke Farsi. gentleman).56 and was most probably a British Indian subject. was described by the British as ‘Persian’. His brother. was a Persian and British Indian subject. and dressed in the style of a Yemeni Figure 3. . and most likely spoke Farsi. used the Persian title of khan (esquire. dressed in a hybrid Persian–Arab style (see Figure 3. dressed in the style of an Indian merchant in Bombay. Arabic. lived in Bushehr and Bahrain.1880–1928).1820/30s–91). Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar’s second eldest son. English and possibly Hindi.1865 (Bushehri Archive.1805). Hajji Muhammad Jafar. grew up in Hillah. wrote his letters in Arabic and Farsi.3 Hajji Muhammad Jafar Safar. Bahrain). was born in Iraq to a Persian mother from Bushehr.

1910 (Bushehri Archive. Ahmad.5 Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif (centre) – the nephew and son-in-law of Agha Muhammad Rahim Saraf – seated with Major Francis Prideaux (Political Agent at Bahrain 1904–9). Bahrain. Figure 3. c. Bahrain).1909 (Bushehri Archive. Bahrain). .Figure 3. Bushehr.4 ‘Abd al-Rasul Safar (centre) and his son. c.

now lives near Manchester. Jill Crystal and Fatma al-Sayegh have studied this sphere of influence in Kuwait. the power relationship between the rulers and the merchants .61 The Safars’ relations with the rulers of Bahrain and Kuwait The Safars exercised considerable influence with Shaykh ‘Isa al-Khalifah (ruler of Bahrain 1869–1923) and Shaykh Mubarak al-Sabah (ruler of Kuwait 1896–1915). Persia. Ahmad’s children were all born in Bahrain to an Iraqi Arab mother from Karbala. Beyond this.60 Sharif family history explains how the Safars and Sharifs are really branches of the same family. and are Bahraini citizens.4.1. Bahrain. Jan ( Jahan). Ahmad’s eldest son.4. friendship and court presence. lived in Iran and Bahrain. The most notable connection through marriage was with the Sharif family of Bushehr. Their influence on the policies of the ruler was casual and left no written record. India and Britain was their intermarriage with local families. speak English as a mother tongue. live in Britain. A wealthy merchant’s status ensured him regular. Before oil. Qatar and Dubai. ‘Abd al-Rasul’s son Ahmad (1905–89) was born in Bahrain to a Persian mother from Behbahan in south-western Persia. most affluent merchants enjoyed some degree of influence with local rulers. Jan’s four children were born to British mothers. spoke Farsi as a mother tongue. The most common kind of informal influence was proximity: the influence of those with everyday access to the ruling family through marriage. and have a British–Arab identity. dressed in a Persian style in his youth. All this gave the wealthiest merchants considerable political influence with the rulers. Members of the two families in Bahrain today still regard themselves as distant cousins.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 71 merchant (possibly in the fashion of his father) – see Figure 3. The merchants’ access to decision making. The rulers could not afford to ignore the opinions of powerful merchants within their shaykhdoms.’63 The political dynamics of a given issue could see a merchant united with his ruler against other merchants.58 One of the natural results of the Safars’ close connections with Iraq. ‘was primarily informal. pearl merchants also had economic control over large portions of the local population through employment and indebtedness. and was a Bahraini citizen – see Figure 3. Politically. or united with other merchants against his ruler. but this was not unusual. A substantial portion of the rulers’ revenues came from the merchants through the customs duties and other taxes that flowed from a prosperous entrepôt economy. but the patterns they identify can be seen in other Gulf shaykhdoms as well. Crystal notes. Gulf rulers also depended upon occasional loans from the wealthiest merchants. was educated in Bombay. speak Arabic as a mother tongue. Oman. Yemen. although they no longer behave as a single family – see Figure 3.59 The Safars intermarried with the Sharifs at least ten times between the 1770s and 1890s. creating a close bond between the two families – see Table 3. predictable access to his ruler’s majlis (court) and gave him input into decision making.5.62 Crystal argues that merchant influence stemmed from the Gulf rulers’ economic dependence on the merchants.

his name appearing just below Shaykh Mubarak’s.64 The result. Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Meade (1897–1900). their businesses and their families. but constrained by the merchant élite. was a political structure consisting of ‘a ruling Shaikh.69 When Shaykh ‘Isa’s son Shaykh Hamad visited the British Resident in Bushehr in November 1897. when Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar and his son Agha Muhammad Rahim helped Shaykh ‘Isa assume the rulership of Bahrain in the wake of the shaykhdom’s second civil war.74 The Safars’ collaboration with the British Protection was one of the greatest concerns of Gulf merchants before the twentieth century. in the 1880s the Shaykh presented him with a horse and two date plantations south-west of Manamah. One of the plantations remains in the Safar family to this day. their property might be confiscated by members of the local ruling family.1820/30s–91). The Resident reported to India that Muhammad Rahim had been ‘of considerable assistance’ to him during these negotiations. members of merchant families such as the Safars frequently allied .66 One account states that when Shaykh ‘Isa returned to Bahrain in early December 1869. Muhammad Rahim. next to the British Residency – see Figure 3.73 Muhammad Rahim was even made a signatory to the Agreement. If they fell out of favour with the local ruler.71 During the winter of 1898–9.65 The Safars’ close relations with the al-Khalifah date from 1869. whose pre-eminence was secure. it was one of interdependence.72 The Exclusive Agreement.70 Muhammad Rahim Safar also enjoyed a close friendship with Shaykh Mubarak of Kuwait. acting on his father’s orders. took advantage of this by asking Muhammad Rahim to assist him in the negotiation of the Anglo-Kuwaiti Exclusive Agreement of 1899. although the al-Khalifah never intermarried with them – possibly for political reasons (to limit the Safars’ influence with the ruling family) and possibly for religious reasons (because the Safars were not Sunni). though kept secret at the time. he found his late father’s house in Muharraq in ruins and the government treasury empty. Shaykh ‘Isa was especially good friends with Hajji Ahmad Khan Safar (c. brought Kuwait into the British fold by placing the shaykhdom’s foreign relations under British control – at least in theory.000 Muhammed Shahi Riels [Rs 40. therefore. Shaykh ‘Isa granted the Safars a concession on customs duty in perpetuity and gave them some control over the island’s pearling fleet. Britain’s Gulf Resident. tied to the economy of pearling and trade’. says Crystal.1. he stayed at Bayt Safar.68 Relations between Shaykh ‘Isa and the Safars were very close for the next 25 years.67 In appreciation for this support.72 James Onley was one of counterbalance. The Agreement was the shaykhdom’s first step in its transformation into a British-protected state like the coastal shaykhdoms of the lower Gulf. Transnational merchants trading in the Gulf had to be constantly on guard against pirates and bedouin raiders.000] for the purpose of providing the preliminary requirements of the Emirate’. handed over the use of Bayt Safar in Manamah and presented the Shaykh ‘with a gift of about 100. economically. To gain protection for themselves.

including the right to pay no more than 5 per cent ad valorem on imported goods. Belgian. Membership on the staff of an American. but none ever held the post of Political Agent. while an eighth member of the family. Even Agha Muhammad Khalil. six members of the Safar family served the British Government of India as Political Agents between 1829 and 1900. As Table 3.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 73 themselves with European governments or companies. who inherited half of Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar’s fortune in 1900 – including Bayt Safar in Manamah and the two Safar family estates near Basrah – lost everything by the . giving them the same advantages British merchants enjoyed in the Gulf. the Gulf Resident was obligated to intervene on his behalf. they ran the British Agency as a family business for 34 years between 1834 and 1900. Unlike the Safars. All non-Britons in the employ of the British government or British companies. German or Russian consulate or company in the Gulf usually carried with it the much-sought-after status of ‘protected person’. however. four members of the family worked for the British Government of India as munshis and one served as Deputy Agent. Sharif family history tells how they were Grade I or II merchants in the nineteenth century. They had a right to the Resident’s good offices if their goods were seized and were entitled to the protection of the Indian Navy and Royal Navy in times of trouble. for example. A fifth member of the family. served as a translator with the Royal Navy’s Gulf Squadron in the 1930s.75 Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar once explained how his family ‘originally took up the work to get British protection’. This echoes the tradition of family service with the East India Company and British Government of India found in many British families. French. in effect. they were also entitled by treaty to receive ‘the treatment and consideration of the subjects and dependants of the most favoured people’. Muhammad Safar (the grandson of Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan). Confidential News Agent or Deputy Agent prior to their appointment as Political Agent.3. served as the Shipping Agent for Gray. Five of the Agents were themselves the sons of British Agents – a reflection of the practice by some Gulf families of closely associating themselves with a particular European government or company. their fortunes had declined significantly. Mackenzie & Co. Agha Muhammad Tahir al-Sharif. served as a munshi at the Gulf Residency headquarters in Bushehr in the 1900s. generation after generation. Their ships. Four members of the family served as British Agents in Bahrain. Five of the men had held the posts of Political Assistant (munshi). If an injustice occurred against a British-protected person or his family in the Gulf. the closely related Sharif family tended to stay out of the political limelight. were known as ‘British-protected persons’ and were entitled to the protection and ‘good offices’ (diplomatic representation and mediation) of British civil and military officers around the world. families and staff were all protected.77 By the twentieth century. Ahmad Safar (the grandson of Hajji Mirza Ahmad Khan). Two patterns emerge from this list. A seventh member of the family.4 shows. This practice discouraged harassment of British employees and protected their private businesses as well. goods. British. (the Gulf Agent of the British India Steam Navigation Company) from the 1920s to the 1950s.76 As shown in Table 3. In Bahrain. however.

1829–? c. Hajji Mirza Ahmad Khan Safar Bushehr Bahrain Mocha Bushehr Bahrain Bahrain Bushehr Bahrain c.1875 c. Hajji Muhammad Safar 4. Hajji Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar 2. Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar munshi (Political Assistant) Political Agent Broker/Political Agent Deputy Political Agent Political Agent Deputy Political Agent munshi and Confidential News Agent Political Agent munshi? munshi Deputy Political Agent Political Agent munshi and Confidential News Agent Political Agent Note The family changed its name to al-Safar in the 1960s. .1829–1856 1857–1872 1872–1884 1884–1891 c. Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan Safar Bahrain Bahrain Mocha Mocha Hudaydah Bahrain c. Hajji ‘Abd al-Rasul Safar 3.1829–1834 1834–1842 c.3 Britain’s agents in Arabia and Persia from the Safar family Post Location Period Name 1.1860s–1893 1893–1900 6.1834–1842 5.1829–? c.Table 3.1842–1871 1872–1884 c.

transnational connections and political influence . sincere. as indicated by this letter of commendation from a British political officer in Bushehr: As I am shortly proceeding to India. Busreh. despite the fact that the two families were related. Agha Muhammad Muhsin Sharif munshi munshi 4.4 Britain’s munshis in Arabia and Persia from the Sharif family Name 1.79 The Safar and Sharif family manuscripts in the Bushehri Archive in Bahrain include many statements and letters of this nature from British political officers attesting to the high social status. expressing my sense of esteem and sincere regard for him. Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif Post Location Bushehr Bahrain Bushehr Kuwait Bushehr Bahrain Bushehr Bahrain Period c.78 The Safars’ and Sharifs’ local knowledge. & I feel quite certain that as a Confidential Agent his services are indispensable to the Bushire Residency.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 75 Table 3. The influence which he has acquired locally makes him a very useful person in certain negotiations of delicate nature. delicacy of management. This might explain in part why the British never appointed the Sharifs as Political Agents. 1930s. with pleasure bear this testimony to his worth. By the time they entered Crown service in the 1890s. who has repeatedly proved of great use in obtaining correct information.1920s–1940 munshi Deputy Political Agent Dragoman (chief munshi) munshi/Deputy Political Agent Dragoman 3. forbade her children to marry into the Sharif family. networks of merchant houses and extensive social contacts throughout the region were of tremendous value to the British. Agha Muhammad al-Sharif munshi Note The family changed its name to al-Sharif in the early twentieth century. Agha Muhammad Karim Sharif 2. the securing of which required much tact. It would also explain why Safar–Sharif intermarriage did not continue past the 1890s. the status-conscious daughter-in-law of Hajji Ahmad Safar (Agent 1884 –91). zealous and ever willing to carry out any work entrusted to him to the best of his ability.1890s 1893–1900 1900–1904 1904–1909 1909–1924 1893–1896 1896–1924 c. I take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Agha Mahomed Rahim ibn Hajee Abdun Nabee [Safar]. correct information can always be obtained through him. I have found him trustworthy. I do. therefore. & other ports in [the] Persian Gulf. and personal influence. they were no longer the sort of extremely affluent and influential men the British were looking to recruit as agents. Safar family history records how Zainab Behbahani. having a large circle of friends at Bushire. He is well informed about local matters and.

their close connection with Britain and the Gulf Residency was symbolized by the house’s location beside the Residency headquarters – see Figure 3. influence and contacts he enjoyed as a British agent. Just as the Safar family’s affluence was evident from the size of Bayt Safar in Bushehr. as Lord Curzon dubbed him. Britain’s Resident in Bushehr was responsible for maintaining contact with the dozens of rulers. enforcing Britain’s treaties with the local rulers. and its presence would have reinforced the impression that the British Agent was the most influential man in a ruler’s domain outside the ruler’s family. enabling him to recoup the Agency operating expenses as part of his larger business profits. and protecting British interests.76 James Onley of many members of the two families. Shiraz. These benefits profited his business. He represented the dominant power in the region. The Agency-related expenses of Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan Safar (Bahrain Agent 1872–84).81 But this loss was a small price to pay for the protection and enhanced status. Britain. stay informed and protect British interests as well as they did in the nineteenth . association with the dominant power in the region offered prospects for further improvement. the local rulers and shaykhs. The Safar family had members in eight of these towns in the nineteenth century. direct access to the most powerful men in Arabia. chiefs and governors in Arabia and Persia. Mocha. influence and wealth. If Britain’s Resident in Bushehr was ‘the Uncrowned King of the Persian Gulf ’.82 Merchants such as the Safars were well placed to be the eyes and ears of the Gulf Resident. spoke the languages of the Gulf better.80 then his locally recruited agents were the Gulf ’s uncrowned princes. and had better local and regional intelligence networks. with whom they were in regular touch. for example. While the Safars already enjoyed status. Bushehr. A Safar’s privileged status was symbolized by the Union Jack. and had regular. They also enjoyed a high status within Gulf society and a resulting influence with the Gulf rulers that was independent of their association with the British Government of India. staying informed about events throughout the region. handling the family business in many of the region’s ports and market towns: Baghdad. They generally had extensive social and business contacts throughout the Gulf and beyond. Aden. were over four-and-a-half times what he received from the British Government of India. The Union Jack stood for imperial power.1. totally incommensurate with the value of their services. which flew outside his house to proclaim that he was the local representative of the British Government of India. they were also well suited to help the Gulf Resident with these duties. Muscat. Manamah. This would explain why the Safars were willing to run the British agencies at what at first appears to be a financial loss to themselves. The top transnational merchant families in the Gulf still operate in this way. Transnational merchants such as the Safars were highly effective as British agents in the Gulf. Bandar ‘Abbas. Lingah. They knew the region better than the British. Most had relatives. Hudaydah and Bombay. It was only by tapping into the transnational mercantile networks of the Gulf that successive Gulf Residents were able to maintain political contacts. Muhammarah. Basrah. Isfahan. Transnational merchants were not only willing to work for small salaries.

Rs 100 per mensem. Residents could not afford to pay these merchants the same salaries as British officers. Transnational connections in the Gulf. such as those in Figure 3. Mohamed Rahim and his predecessors no doubt have only held it because it gave them prestige and assisted them in their private commercial undertakings.and Indian-style buildings. for the most part. The most obvious was the possibility of a conflict of interest between their official duties and their private business pursuits. were worn by Shi‘i Arab elites such as the Safars throughout the Gulf region. to non-political duties.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 77 century. dominated eastern Arabian ports. explained how He has the reputation of being a well-to-do merchant. Gulf Residents were also able to take advantage of the political relationship between the merchants and the rulers. I may say at once. This commercial connection naturally resulted in a strong Persian and Indian cultural influence on eastern Arabia’s ports and people – clearly evident in the styles of architecture.84 One Resident. Today. Abu Dhabi and Dubai. often built by Persians and Indians. and Persian and Indian merchants resided in Arabian ports. and it would. clothing and cuisine.2. writing about Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar (Bahrain Agent 1893–1900). Whatever conflicts of interest there were in mixing trade with politics. By both permitting them to engage in trade and allowing their businesses to benefit from their association with the Residency. the Resident compensated them for their inadequate salaries. Gulf Arab merchants such as the Safars resided in Persian and Indian ports. but their role is now confined. such locally recruited agents are known as honorary consuls. most of the Residents and their superiors in India seem to have considered this a price that had to be paid for the services of such well-connected and influential men as the Safars. northern Emiratis. Persian.83 There were a number of disadvantages to employing merchants as agents instead of British political officers. Arabian dhows were built with wood imported from India. By employing wealthy transnational merchants such as the Safars as political agents.85 Because the Gulf Residency was always run on a tight budget. Kashmiri shawls adorned the heads of the ruling families of Bahrain. and colourful Indian-style turbans were favoured by Omanis. if he were not allowed to trade. But there would have been little incentive for the merchants to continue working for the Resident if their association with the British Government of India did not benefit their business interests. be difficult to get a man of his position to carry on the duties he performs on the pay of the post. then and now Nineteenth-century eastern Arabia was closely linked to Persia and India through trade. The British admitted that the salaries they paid these merchants did not reflect the true value of their services. Qataris and Bahrainis – especially the hawalah . white Persian-style turbans.

worn with either the Nadji shimagh (the red-and-white chequered headscarf of central Arabia) or the white ghutrah indigenous to eastern Arabia. in the creation of national museums celebrating the heritage of Sunni Gulf Arabs (Ibadi Arabs in Oman).78 James Onley (see the man standing in Figure 3. but few Gulf Arabs have connections with Iran or India today. 1950s. eastern Arabia’s ports and people were as much a part of the Indian Ocean world as they were a part of the Arab world.and Indian-style headdress was replaced with a purely Arabian headdress: the Najdi ‘agal (head rope). To consolidate their new power base.88 Another reason was the growing need to distinguish between themselves and the ever-expanding number of expatriates in the Gulf. The oil wealth of the 1950s and 1960s (and. the ruling families have strongly emphasized the importance of Gulf Arab culture. the Gulf Arab states underwent a further cultural reorientation. Many were graduates of Bombay schools.90 Since the 1980s.87 Twenty-first-century eastern Arabia remains a transnational space. but the nature of that transnationalism has changed. This process of Westernization was reinforced by the presence of large Western expatriate communities in the Gulf. therefore. Chaudhuri. especially the elites. They also promoted a Gulf Arab national identity as a necessary prerequisite for participation in government and a desirable identity for all citizens.89 National dress became the hallmark of citizenship in the Gulf. The predominant foreign influence is now British and American. of the 1930s and 1940s) had released the ruling families from their dependence on the merchants and enabled them to build a modern state infrastructure. from the work of Indian Ocean historians such as K. whose children spoke Farsi. Iranians and Indians still live in Gulf Arab ports. Persian. as was Ahmad Safar (1905–89). adopting some Western ways and wearing Western attire (from the popular blazer-and-thob combination to the full suit and tie). One of the reasons for this was the perception that Westernization had begun to threaten their cultural identity. the rulers granted the vast majority of government positions to members of their own families or to other Sunni Arabs (and Ibadi Arabs in Oman) of similar Najdi descent and tribal affiliation – often from elite merchant families. Gulf historians have much to learn. Many in the small Gulf states became Westernized in the 1940s. in the case of Bahrain. Baluchi or Hindi. In the 1970s and 1980s. in addition to Arabic. especially the Arab expatriates. Most Gulf Arab elites have strong ties with Britain or America. 1960s or 1970s – speaking English. Buildings constructed during this time were often designed by Western architects and built along Western lines. With the sole exception of Oman. tribal lineage and Sunni Islam (Ibadi Islam in Oman). In these and countless other ways. or both: they spend their summers there and have degrees from British and American universities. During this time most Gulf Arab elites abandoned Western attire and adopted Gulf Arab national dress in an assertion of regional Arab identity. Gulf Arabs ate their lamb and fish with curry and rice from India. in the construction of vast Sunni .2). The results of this can be seen everywhere: in the wearing of ‘traditional’ Arabian bedouin clothing for all but the most junior members of government. Urdu. N.86 Many in the Gulf Arab elites had Persian or Indian wives.

as well as extensive social and business contacts. Govt HMG Assistant East India Company Foreign and Commonwealth Office Foreign Governor Government Her/His Majesty’s Government . Persian. throughout the Gulf and beyond.and Indian-style buildings continue to dominate the historical districts of the port cities. senior members of these families made the best possible intermediaries between foreign powers and local rulers. At the Portuguese fort in Bahrain. have begun to downplay their non-Arab heritage. some Gulf citizens of Indian and Sunni Persian descent have begun to Arabize – speaking Arabic. marriage and birth. Iraq. but their architecture is now described as ‘Arabian’. The result was a blending of cultures into a complex transnational family identity. EIC FCO For. The case of the Safar family also illustrates the ways in which transnational merchant families operated in the Gulf before oil. long before the politicization of Gulf Arab identity. One now rarely sees the Arab–Persian or Arab–Indian hybridity and blending of cultures that once characterized transnational Arab merchant families in the Gulf. connected the region to that most transnational entity of all. Men like the Safars. one finds a large sign greeting visitors to ‘Bahrain Fort’ with an explanation of how the fort is not Portuguese. Many had considerable influence with local rulers.91 The case of the Safar family thus offers us a rare glimpse into nineteenthcentury Gulf society. By employing the Safars and others like them as representatives. a nineteenth-century transnational family did not have to Arabize to gain acceptance and become influential. they were connected to these places through culture. Hindi. revealing a far more transnational elite culture than that now promoted in the Gulf Arab states. These families had an intimate knowledge of local languages and politics. and why. the British were able to operate within the indigenous political systems and intelligence networks of the Gulf. such as Easa Saleh al-Gurg whose story began this chapter. Gov. Persia and India. Gujarati. Urdu or Farsi at home. language. in an ironic reversal of the transnationalism of the past. the British empire. who constituted the vast majority of British agents in the nineteenth-century Gulf.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 79 mosques (Ibadi mosques in Oman) and in the Arabesque design of new buildings. In contrast to Gulf merchant families today. Multiculturalism among Gulf citizens is everywhere downplayed and intermarriage between Gulf Arabs and non-Arabs is discouraged. Because they could provide both intelligence and influence. but Arab. This explains why Gulf Arabs with historical transnational connections. Family members did not merely reside in the ports of Arabia. Abbreviations Asst. adopting Arab ways and wearing Gulf Arab national dress – although still speaking Baluchi.

and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean. U. Rs Sec. pp. 1500–1800 (Delhi: Oxford University Press. ‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society: The Case of Dubai. London Political Resident in the Persian Gulf register Rupees Secretary Senior Naval Officer in the Persian Gulf HMS Ks n. Middle Eastern Studies 34/1 (1998): 87–102. Research for this chapter and several other works was generously funded by the Bahrain–British Foundation. ‘Port Cities as Nodal Points of Change: The Indian Ocean. Curzon. Fuccaro. ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. pp. vol. 1997). G. ‘Kuwait before Oil: The Dynamics of Morphology of an Arab Port City’. British Library.80 James Onley Her/His Majesty’s Ship Krans (principal unit of currency of Persia) footnote Oriental and India Office Collections. Merchants and Faith: Muslim Commerce and Culture in the Indian Ocean (Boulder: Westview. SNOPG Notes 1 This chapter could not have been written without the invaluable assistance of ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. pp. Clarence-Smith (eds). Arabia and the Gulf. Critique: Journal of Critical Studies of the Middle East 17/2 (2000): 49–81. Risso. Allen’s muchquoted article ‘The Indian Merchant Community of Masqat’. Fawaz and . Aubin (eds). The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq. OIOC PRPG reg. caretaker of the Safar family manuscript collection and Bahrain’s foremost historian of its national history. Mandana Limbert and Gabriele vom Bruck for their helpful comments on this chapter. Fuccaro. 77–83. and C. 1997). Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862–63). 6 F. ‘Visions of the City: Urban Studies on the Gulf ’. Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 35/2 (2001): 175–87. Broeze. Freitag and W. 5 H. pp. Markovits. 1750–1947: Traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Broeze (ed. N. Wills. Cross-Cultural Trade in World History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.). N. E. Gateways of Asia: Port Cities of Asia in the 13th–20th Centuries (London: Kegan Paul. al-Sayegh. Hadhrami Traders. 211–12. T. and partially funded by the Society for Arabian Studies. 4 P. in L. N. in F. F. ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’. (London: Macmillan. Scholars. 467–8. Fuccaro. 1745–1900 (Albany: State University of New York Press. ‘Islam and Urban Space: Ma’tams in Bahrain before Oil’. I would also like to thank Gloria Onley. and K. J. ‘Maritime Asia 1500–1800: The Interactive Emergence of European Domination’. Also see J. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 44/1 (1981): 39–53. 1750s–1960s (Leiden: E. which covered some of the expenses of a year of archival work at the British Library in London. Newsletter of the Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) 3 ( July 1999): 12. 1997). Nelida Fuccaro.. which paid for a year of fieldwork in Bahrain. American Historical Review 98/1 (February 1993): 83–105. and Curtin’s famous book. 3 G. Calvin Allen and Philip Curtin. 1865). 1994). Green & Co. G. Asian Merchants and Businessmen in the Indian Ocean and the China Sea (Delhi: Oxford University Press. 1892). 1900–90’. Fattah. 149–90. N. Jan al-Safar. Persia and the Persian Question (London: Longmans. 2 vols. 2 W. Palgrave. D. James Piscatori. These authors are building on the pioneering works of Ashin Das Gupta. 1984). Lombard and J. 2000). McPherson. Brill. The Global World of Indian Merchants. 1890s–1920s’. 1995). II. 2000). See Das Gupta’s collected essays 1960–92 in Merchants of Maritime India.

Kanoo. and the British in the Nineteenth Century Gulf (Oxford: Oxford University Press. including the Minister for Foreign Affairs.000. pp. and Country: A Nineteenth-Century Persian Merchant. appendix c. pp. 13 Oct. See Garthwaite. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 . In 2001–3. 1898. 23 July 1999. 1998). Provisional Basic Statute of Rule of the State of Qatar. 1962. Carter. forthcoming 2004). 1999. Interviews with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. 2002). Bahrain. For God. J. 3 Aug.–Aug. Iqtidari (Tehran: Behnshire. June–Aug. Article 1. pp. 1886. Fracis. and Sir P. E. or creed’ (Article 18. note by Muhammad Khalil Sharif. Garthwaite. K. The Merchants. Sadid al-Saltanah (Kababi). The House of Kanoo: A Century of Arabian Family Business (London: London Centre for Arab Studies. Field. 10 Sept. pp. Bahrain. Leading Merchant Families of Saudi Arabia (London: Scorpion. see Field. D. ‘Islam and Trade: The Case of Some Merchant Families from the Gulf ’. 1996. 1984). 26 Dec. Ibid. Article 6. Bahrain. pp. in Lombard and Aubin (eds). Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain.–Aug. 1999 and ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. R. Interviews with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. 1972. 1992. Francke. 1999. 75–95. Rulers. 54. Naulleau. 3–4. Interviews with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. 1983). Ibid. p. voucher by Muhammad Rahim Safar to N. 1979). Basic Law of the Sultanate of Oman. the King of Bahrain appointed three Persian Bahrainis to senior positions in government. For an explanation of how general merchants in the Gulf operate. Muhammad Rahim Safar to Meade (PRPG).Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 81 C. Bahrain). The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants. Declaration by Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar (will of ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar). Oct. 2003. For more details. The Merchants: The Big Business Families of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States (Woodstock. Article 1. 20 Apr. Asian Merchants and Businessmen. Bahrain. E. 1983). Onley. Carter. Safar Namah-i Sadid al-Saltanah [Sadid al-Saltanah’s Book of Travels]. Khans and Shahs: A Documentary Analysis of the Bakhtiyari in Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2002. employed an international network of commercial agents and had a minimum annual income of Ks500. 1997). Mar. 1999. Khans and Shahs. 39 and interviews with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri. Merchant Families of Kuwait (London: Scorpion. A Grade I merchant was an international wholesale trader who maintained a large fleet of cargo ships. 185–6. Interview with Khalid Kanoo. R. Fuller and R. 1892. Constitution of the Kingdom of Bahrain. R. Mar. Bayly (eds). Mar. M. G.. L. J. 1999. 2002). Constitution of the UAE. Basic Law of Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 1999). A. Article 1(a). origin. NY: Overlook Press. S. 1998. The Wells of Memory: An Autobiography (London: John Murray. The Arab Shi‘a: The Forgotten Muslims (New York: Palgrave. to Muhammad Khalil Sharif. For more about the Bakhtiyari. 167. pp. correspondence. S. 1934 (all documents in the Bushehri Archive.–Aug. Basrah. Article 1. Interviews with Nader al-Safar. In 2000. 2–3. Mar. language. 136. London. M. 297–309. Cox. Article 1. Also written as ‘aqa’. see G. Constitution of the State of Kuwait. Mammon. 1972. A. Mahdavi. ed.–Aug. Haj Muhammad Hassan Amin al-Zarb (Boulder: Westview. Modernity and Culture from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean (New York: Columbia University Press. 12 Apr. and G. 1999). see J. L. al-Gurg. 1918. R. 292–310. religion. This inclusion of non-Arabs in government has a recent constitutional basis: ‘There shall be no discrimination among them [the citizens of Bahrain] on the basis of sex. 1984). Dr Muhammad ‘Abdul Ghafar. Bahrain. followed by another three Persian Bahrainis in 2002. Bahrain. A. the Prime Minister of Bahrain appointed three Persian Bahrainis and one Indian Bahraini to the country’s majlis al-shurah (Consultative Council). M.–Nov.


James Onley

28 Interviews with Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, Altrincham, Cheshire. 29 Statement by Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar, 11 Nov. 1898, reg. no. 364/1899, L/P&S/7/112 (OIOC), p. 21. 30 Safar family tree by Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar, ibid., and Safar family tree by Ahmad Safar ( Jan al-Safar collection, Altrincham, Cheshire). 31 For details, see B. Ingham, ‘Men’s Dress in the Arabian Peninsula: Historical and Present Perspectives’, in N. Lindisfarne-Tapper and B. Ingham (eds), Languages of Dress in the Middle East (London: Curzon, 1997), pp. 47–8 and p. 6 (Figure 3.1). 32 The hawalah (sg. holi ) are Sunni Arabs from southern Persia who link themselves genealogically to one of the tribes of Arabia. Many could be described as ‘Persianized Arabs’ in the nineteenth century. See J. G. Lorimer, Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman, and Central Arabia, vol. II: Geographical and Statistical (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1908), pp. 754–5; F. I. Khuri, Tribe and State in Bahrain: The Transformation of Social and Political Authority in an Arab State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), pp. 2, 4. 33 For the complexities of the term ‘Persian’, see M. Vaziri, Iran as Imagined Nation: The Construction of National Identity (New York: Paragon House, 1993), pp. 67–70. 34 Interviews with Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; ‘Adel al-Safar, 23 July 1999, Bahrain; and Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, 20 July 2000, 26 Aug. 2000, 14 Apr. 2001, 18 Apr. 2001, 9 Apr. 2003, 16 Apr. 2003, Altrincham, Cheshire. 35 Interviews with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Mar.–Aug. 1999, Bahrain. 36 Gabriele vom Bruck has made the same observation of big Sunni merchant families in Yemen. See ‘Kinship and the Embodiment of History’, History and Anthropology 10/4 (1998): 263, 287–8. 37 Safar family tree by Ahmad Safar ( Jan al-Safar collection, Altrincham, Cheshire). 38 Voucher by Muhammad Rahim Safar to N. D. Fracis, 3 Aug. 1892; Muhammad Rahim Safar to Meade (PRPG), 13 Oct. 1898; power of attorney by Louisa Fracis (widow of N. D. Fracis) to Percy James Fracis, 14 Oct. 1909; note by Muhammad Khalil Sharif, 26 Dec. 1918; and Sir P. Cox, London, to Muhammad Khalil Sharif, Basrah, 10 Sept. 1934 (all documents in the Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). Interviews with Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999 and ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Mar.–Aug. 1999, Bahrain. 39 Telephone interview with Jan al-Safar, 26 Aug. 2000. 40 EIC bill of exchange for Rs 7,000 in favour of Hajji Muhammad ‘Ali Safar for 30 days at 1.5 per cent interest, 15 Oct. 1839 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). 41 J. A. Saldanha, Précis of the Affairs of the Persian Coast and Islands, 1854–1905 (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1906), p. 69. The Resident’s monthly salary in the 1830s was Rs 2,400. 42 Declaration by Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar (will of ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar), 20 Apr. 1886 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). 43 Family tree by Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar, 11 Nov. 1898, reg. no. 364/1899, L/P&S/7/112 (OIOC). 44 Statement by Jones (PRPG), 15 Nov. 1856 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). 45 Statement by Comdr. J. Sedley (SNOPG), 4 Apr. 1863 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). The exchange rate at the time was roughly 1 kran 0.4 rupee (26 pice), 1 rupee 2.5 krans. L. Pelly, Report on a Journey to Riyadh in Central Arabia (1865), repr. edn., Cambridge: Oleander Press, n.d., appendix 8: ‘Riyadh Currency’, p. 84. 46 Saldanha, Précis, p. 69. The Resident’s monthly salary in the 1860s was Rs 2,400. 47 Way (Asst. PRPG) to Pelly (PRPG), 23 Sept. 1869, L/P&S/9/15 (OIOC), p. 547. 48 Business agreement between C. J. Zaytun and Muhammad Rahim Safar, 26 Dec. 1887 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). 49 Lt. A. B. Kemball, ‘Historical Sketch of the Uttoobee Tribe of Arabs (Bahrein) from the Year 1832 to 1844’, 1844, in R. Hughes Thomas (ed.), Selections from the Records of the

Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 83
Bombay Government, NS, 24 (Bombay: Bombay Education Society Press, 1856; repr. Cambridge: Oleander Press, 1985), p. 393 and map of Manamah enclosed in Zwemer to Cobb, 28 Nov. 1899, Arabian Mission MSS, Reformed Church of America Archive, New Brunswick, NJ, USA (copy in the Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). Palgrave, Narrative of a Year’s Journey, vol. II, p. 209. Ibid. For examples, see A. Wheatcroft, Bahrain in Original Photographs, 1880–1961 (London: Kegan Paul, 1988), pp. 20, 28, 42, 47, 65, 67–8, 76, 81, 93, 130 and A. M. al-Khan, Bahrain Old Houses (Manamah: Falcon Cinefoto, 1987), pp. 38, 43–4, 48–53, 56–7, 77. Palgrave, Narrative of a Year’s Journey, vol. II, p. 209. For examples, see Wheatcroft, Bahrain in Original Photographs, 1880–1961, pp. 63, 83–4. Gray, Paul & Co. to Muhammad Khalil Sharif (nephew and son-in-law of Muhammad Rahim Safar), 17 May 1904; agreement by Gray, Paul & Co. and Muhammad Khalil Sharif, 22 Jan. 1908; Muhammad Khalil Sharif to Gray, Paul & Co., 18 Feb. 1909 (all documents in the Bushehri Archive, Bahrain); and ‘Tubular Proposition Statement’ by Gulf Resident, 24 Sept. 1899, R/15/1/330 (OIOC), p. 39. Interviews with Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Mar.–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; and Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, 20 July 2000, 26 Aug. 2000, 14 Apr. 2001, 18 Apr. 2001, 9 Apr. 2003, 16 Apr. 2003, Altrincham, Cheshire. ‘Khan’ originally meant shaykh or prince and came from the Turkoman and Mongol nomads. H. Yule and A. Burnell, Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymology, Historical, Geographical and Discursive, 2nd edn. (London: John Murray, 1903), p. 479. R. J. Gavin, Aden under British Rule, 1839–1967 (London: C. Hurst & Co., 1975), p. 45. Ahmad was granted a British Indian passport as a reward for his years of service to the British Crown. See Resolution no. 6220 of the Government of Bombay, 23 Dec. 1871, P/478 (OIOC), p. 863. Interviews with Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, 20 July 2000, 26 Aug. 2000, 14 Apr. 2001, 18 Apr. 2001, 9 Apr. 2003, 16 Apr. 2003, Altrincham, Cheshire. For the politics of intermarriage, see P. Lienhardt, The Shaikhdoms of Eastern Arabia, ed. A. al-Shahi (London: Palgrave, 2001), p. 21. Ibid. and interviews with Mirza Isma‘il al-Sharif, May–Aug. 1999, Bahrain. Interviews with Mirza Isma‘il al-Sharif, May–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999, Bahrain; Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, Altrincham, Cheshire; and ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, Mar.–Aug. 1999, Bahrain. J. Crystal, ‘Coalitions in Oil Monarchies: Kuwait and Qatar’, Comparative Politics 21/4 ( July 1989): 427–43; J. Crystal, Oil and Politics in the Gulf: Rulers and Merchants in Kuwait and Qatar, rev. edn. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 4, 9, 13, 21, 26, 56–7; and al-Sayegh, ‘Merchants’ Role’, pp. 90–1. Crystal, Oil and Politics in the Gulf, p. 56. Ibid., p. 57. Ibid., p. 26. See the PRPG’s many dispatches concerning the crisis in Bahrain from Sept. to Dec. 1869, L/P&S/9/15 (OIOC), pp. 473 ff. ‘Bahrain in the Last Two Centuries’ (article translated from an unidentified Iranian newspaper, c.1960s, Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). Riels were the contemporary equivalent to krans. The exchange rate at the time was 1 kran 0.4 rupee (26 pice), 1 rupee 2.5 krans. Ibid. and Meade (PRPG) to Sec., Indian For. Dept., 2 Oct. 1897, reg. no. 711/1898, L/P&S/7/104 (OIOC). Interview with Nader al-Safar (great-grandson of Hajji Ahmad), 11 June 1999, Bahrain. Prideaux (Asst. PRPG) to Meade (PRPG), 10 Nov. 1897 and memorandum by Gaskin (Extra Asst. PRPG), 2 Dec. 1897, R/15/1/315 (OIOC).

50 51

52 53

54 55

56 57 58 59 60 61 62

63 64 65 66 67

68 69 70


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71 S. Alghanim, The Reign of Mubarak Al-Sabah, Shaikh of Kuwait 1896–1915 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1998), p. 37. 72 Exclusive Agreement of 23 Jan. 1899, in C. U. Aitchison, A Collection of Treaties, Engagements and Sanads Relating to India and Neighbouring Countries, vol. XI: The Treaties, &c., Relating to Aden and the South Western Coast of Arabia, the Arab Principalities in the Persian Gulf, Muscat (Oman), Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province (Delhi: Manager of Publications, 1933), p. 262. For an account of Muhammad Rahim’s role in the negotiation of the Agreement, see Alghanim, The Reign of Mubarak Al-Sabah, pp. 37, 73–6. 73 Meade (PRPG) to Sec., Indian For. Dept., 5 June 1899, R/15/1/330 (OIOC), pp. 4a–6b. For an account of Meade’s negotiations with Shaykh Mubarak, see F. Anscombe, The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), pp. 110–12. 74 Exclusive Agreement of 1899, in Aitchison, Treaties, vol. XI: Persian Gulf, p. 262. 75 Article 4, Convention of 1861, ibid., pp. 235–6. 76 Statement by Muhammad Rahim to Meade (PRPG), 11 Nov. 1898, reg. no. 364/1899, L/P&S/7/112 (OIOC). 77 Interviews with Mirza Isma‘il al-Sharif, May–Aug. 1999, Bahrain. A Grade II merchant was a regional wholesale trader who maintained a small fleet of cargo ships, employed a regional network of commercial agents and had an annual income of Ks300,000–500,000. For more details, see Onley, The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj, appendix c. 78 Interviews with Nader al-Safar, June–Aug. 1999, Bahrain, and Jan al-Safar, 7–10 Apr. 2000, Altrincham, Cheshire. 79 Statement by R. Halier (Uncovenanted Asst. Resident), 2 Mar. 1889 (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). 80 Curzon, Persia and the Persian Question, p. 451. 81 Between June 1872 and June 1875, ‘Abd al-Nabi received Rs 1,039-0-2 (Ks 2,597.6) in salary – Rs 346-5-2 p.a. – yet his Agency-related expenses were Rs 4,772-3-1 (Ks 11,930.5) – an average of Rs 1,590-11-2 p.a. ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar, ‘Account of Personal Expenses, 1872–75’ (Bushehri Archive, Bahrain). The amounts are recorded in krans. The exchange rate at the time was roughly 1 kran 0.4 rupee (26 pice), 1 rupee 2.5 krans. Pelly, Report on a Journey to Riyadh, appendix 8: ‘Riyadh Currency’, p. 84. 82 Field, The Merchants, pp. 16–18, 126, 162, 218, 248, 280; Crystal, Oil and Politics in the Gulf, p. 38. 83 FCO, HMG, Consular Work Annual Review, 2001 (London: FCO, 2001), p. 13. 84 See, for example, Pelly to Bombay Govt., 28 Jan. 1871, P/759 (OIOC), p. 290. 85 ‘Report on the arms trade at Bahrein’ by Meade (PRPG), 18 Nov. 1898, reg. no. 364/1899, L/P&S/7/112 (OIOC). 86 Ingham, ‘Men’s Dress in the Arabian Peninsula’, pp. 45–7; telephone interview with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, 15 Apr. 2003. Also see the numerous books of historical photographs of eastern Arabia. 87 K. N. Chaudhuri, Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985); K. N. Chaudhuri, Asia before Europe: Economy and Civilization of the Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam to 1750 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990). 88 For a discussion of this point, see S. Khalaf, ‘Globalization and Heritage Revival in the Gulf: An Anthropological Look at Dubai Heritage Village’, Journal of Social Affairs 19/75 (Fall 2002): 13–42. 89 For a discussion of the problems surrounding the ever-increasing number of expatriates in the Gulf, see A. Kapiszewski, Nationals and Expatriates: Population and Labour Dilemmas of the Gulf Cooperation Council States (Reading: Ithaca Press, 2001). 90 Ingham, ‘Men’s Dress in the Arabian Peninsula’, pp. 45–7. 91 Telephone interview with ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri, 15 Apr. 2003.

Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 85

Bushehri Archive, Bahrain
Hajji Muhammad ‘Ali Safar MSS ( fl. 1778–1845). Hajji ‘Abd al-Nabi Safar MSS ( fl. c.1803–84). Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar MSS ( fl. c.1830s–1900). Agha Muhammad Khalil Sharif MSS ( fl. c.1870–1940).

Jan Safar private collection, Altrincham (near Manchester)
Safar family tree.

Oriental and India Office Collections (OIOC), British Library, London
L/P&S/7/104 Political and Secret Department correspondence with India, 1898 (India Office, London). L/P&S/7/112 Political and Secret Department correspondence with India, 1899 (India Office, London). L/P&S/9/15 Secret letters from Persian Gulf, 1869 (India Office, London). P/478 Political Department proceedings, 1871 (Government of Bombay). P/759 Indian Foreign Department proceedings, 1875 (Government of India, Calcutta). R/15/1/315 Recognition of Shaykh Hamad as successor to Shaykh ‘Isa in Bahrain, 1897–1901 (Gulf Residency, Bushehr). R/15/1/330 British representation at Bahrain; appointment of a Political Agent to Bahrain, 1898–1908 (Gulf Residency, Bushehr).

Bushehri, ‘Ali Akbar (Bahraini historian, genealogist, owner of the Bushehri Archive and custodian of the Safar and Sharif MSS collections), fifty interviews: September 1998–August 1999, Bahrain; twenty e-mails: October 1999–April 2001 and 4–11 April 2003; and seven telephone interviews: 31 March–15 April 2003. Kanoo, Khalid, two interviews: 23–4 July 1999, Bahrain; and correspondence, 12 April 2003. Khalfan, Khalifah (son-in-law of Ahmad Safar, 1905–89), interview: 24 June 1999, Bahrain. al-Safar, ‘Adel, interview: 23 July 1999, Bahrain. al-Safar, Jan, six interviews: 7–10 April 2000, Altrincham, Cheshire; and six telephone interviews: 20 July 2000, 26 August 2000, 14 April 2001, 18 April 2001, 9 April 2003 and 16 April 2003. al-Safar, Nader, twelve interviews: June–August 1999, Bahrain. al-Sharif, Mirza Isma‘il (second cousin of Agha Muhammad Khalil al-Sharif, c.1870–1940), five interviews: May–August 1999, Bahrain.

U. L. edn. J. 1856.86 James Onley Published primary sources Aitchison. Muscat (Oman). Transactions of the Bombay Geographical Society. M. ‘Persian Gulf as an Area of Trade’. A Collection of Treaties. 1836–1838 1 (1844): 32–55. 1838.. 1933. vol. ‘Descriptive Sketch of the Islands and Coast Situated at the Entrance of the Persian Gulf ’. Lt. Lorimer. Pelly. Selections from the Records of the Bombay Government. Green & Co. Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Saldanha.. Whitelock. Pelly. 1949. L. 2nd edn. J.. Lt. G. Transactions of the Bombay Geographical Society 17 (1863). H. B. XI: The Treaties. Narrative of a Year’s Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862–63). Tehran: Behnshire. Generally Called the Pirate Coast’. Cambridge: Oleander Press. H. L. Yule. 1865. London: John Murray. The Sand Kings of Oman: The Experiences of an RAF Officer in the Little-Known Regions of Trucial Oman Arabia. R. N. 1836–1838 1 (1844). ‘Historical Sketch of the Uttoobee Tribe of Arabs (Bahrein) from the Year 1832 to 1844’. Hughes Thomas (ed. Précis of the Affairs of the Persian Coast and Islands.. . n. and the Port of Bunder Abbass’. J. ‘Remarks on the Tribes. Transactions of the Bombay Geographical Society. R.. Persia and the Persian Question. G. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 8 (1838): 170–84. and Burnell. L. H. E. II: Geographical and Statistical. 1985. Delhi: Manager of Publications. Pelly.). H. London: Macmillan. 382–407. Whitelock. Col. ‘Visit to Lingah. A. Kishm. Col. Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 34 (1864): 251–8. Oman and Central Arabia. Wellsted. A. Etymology. 2 vols. 1903. pp. Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases. Lt. Whitelock. vol. London: Methuen & Co. A. Lt. Lt Col. Engagements and Sanads Relating to India and Neighbouring Countries. 24. ‘An Account of Arabs who Inhabit the Coast between Ras-elKheimah and Abothubee in the Gulf of Persia. Published historical photograph collections Abu Hakima. Iqtidari.. NS.. Cambridge: Oleander Press. Travels in Arabia. vol. 1892. and Bunder Abbas’. Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing. A. A. The Wells of Memory: An Autobiography. 1983. H. Kemball. London: John Murray. Curzon. the Arab Principalities in the Persian Gulf. A. Pelly. in R. Geographical and Discursive. L. 1984. The Arab of the Desert: A Glimpse into Badawin Life in Kuwait and Sa‘udi Arabia. H. I: Bahrain.. P. Palgrave. 1854–1905. Lt. &c. Pelly. 2 vols. London: George Allen & Unwin. Bombay: Bombay Education Society Press. Col. Report on a Journey to Riyadh in Central Arabia (1865). Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 8/6 (1863–4): 265–7. Trade and Resources around the Shore Line of the Persian Gulf ’. London: Hurtwood. London: Longmans. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 8/1 (1863–4): 18–21. repr. and of Kindred Terms. Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province. W. Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing.. C. 1844. 1947. Lt. ‘Notes Taken during a Journey in Oman along the East Coast of Arabia’. Eastern Arabia: Historic Photographs. Dickson. Safar Namah-i Sadid al-Saltanah [Sadid al-Saltanah’s Book of Travels]. G. 1998. ‘A Visit to the Port of Lingah. the Island of Kishm. ed. M. 1908. H. S. Relating to Aden and the South Western Coast of Arabia. R. repr. Lt. Historical. Lt. Col. Sadidal-Saltanah (Kababi). 1906. H. London: John Murray.d. O’Shea. al-Gurg.

Anscombe. rev. The Arab Gulf and the Arab World. Kuwait: The Transformation of an Oil State. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 44/1 (1981): 39–53. 1992. Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society. Bahrain: Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Information. J. Berkeley: University of California Press. A. Bahrain: n. Asia before Europe: Economy and Civilization of the Indian Ocean from the Rise of Islam to 1750. R.p. Leading Merchant Families of Saudi Arabia. ‘Kuwait before Oil: The Dynamics of Morphology of an Arab Port City’. G. 1880–1950. F. 1991. N. pp. B. and Grant. rev. Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750. C. R. 131–52. Gateways of Asia: Port Cities of Asia in the 13th–20th Centuries. Carter. Bahrain in Original Photographs.). Bahrain in Original Photographs. A. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. W. 119–210. Bruck. 1880–1961. 1988. al-Muraikhi. Comparative Politics 21/4 ( July 1989): 427–43. M. 1999. G. Oil and Politics in the Gulf: Rulers and Merchants in Kuwait and Qatar. Alghanim. 1997. J. K.. Dubai: Motivate Publishing. in B. Appaduri.). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. R. Ministry of Information. 1990. Tauris. 1983. London: I. Peyton. vom ‘Kinship and the Embodiment of History’. Published secondary sources Abu-Lughod. The North-East Shaikhdoms: An Arabian Album. L. L. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ‘The Demographic Challenge in the Arab Gulf ’. G. The Emirates by the First Photographers.. 1997. J. W. London: I. repr. Broeze (ed.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 87 Codrai. J. Codrai. W. M. Old Oman. A. London: Stacey International. S. edn. 1992. Events Enfolded in Time: A Journey into Bahrain’s Past. The Ottoman Gulf: The Creation of Kuwait. Fox (ed. Boulder: Westview. 1998. . M. 1992. K. London: Kegan Paul International. K. R. F. Bahrain Old Houses. 1996. Dubai: Motivate Publishing. R. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press. Allen. 1995. Chaudhuri. edn. K. J. London: Scorpion. al-Muraikhi. Tauris. Crystal. Merchant Families of Kuwait. Codrai. 1991. 1984. ‘The Indian Merchant Community of Masqat’. Carter. B. Saudi Arabia and Qatar. A. Dubai: An Arabian Album. Facey. 1985. Wheatcroft. al-Khan. 1999. Appaduri. 1993. Chaudhuri. 1998. London: I. in R. N. Government of Bahrain. New York: Columbia University Press. London: Scorpion. and Grant. Pridham (ed. 1997. Directorate of Museums. Dubai: Motivate Publishing. 1982. in F. 1997. 149–90. Tauris. ‘Global Ethnospaces: Notes and Queries for a Transnational Anthropology’. Crystal. pp. Abu Dhabi: An Arabian Album. Birks. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. B. Wheatcroft. Broeze. A. R. edn. Al-Bahrain: Hazarat wa Tarikh [Bahrain: Culture and History]. Facey.. L. Bahrain: Government Press. Shaikh of Kuwait 1896–1915. 1995. London: Kegan Paul. History and Anthropology 10/4 (1998): 263–98. ‘Coalitions in Oil Monarchies: Kuwait and Qatar’. London: Croom Helm.). J. D. Glimpses of Bahrain from its Past. S. London: Kegan Paul. Manamah: Falcon Cinefoto. 1987. Recapturing Anthropology: Working in the Present. Kuwait by the First Photographers. The Reign of Mubarak Al-Sabah. 1979. Crystal. 1988. pp.

Arabia and the Gulf. 1972. Fuccaro. F. 2001. Khalaf. Investigations in a Shi‘a Village in Bahrain. Kapiszewski. R. M. 1951. M. The Shaikhdoms of Eastern Arabia. 1967. Reading: Ithaca. 1997. London: Palgrave. ‘Visions of the City: Urban Studies on the Gulf ’. 1997. London: FCO. Delhi: Oxford University Press. P. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Field. U. 1994. al-Shahi. N. 1984. Hopwood (ed. Lindisfarne-Tapper and B. 1975. in D. Languages of Dress in the Middle East. and Bayly. 2001. 1980. E. 1997. P. 1993. 1983. K. Critique: Journal of Critical Studies of the Middle East 17/2 (2000): 49–81. Hansen. New York: Palgrave. and Clarence-Smith. H. 2001. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (eds) Hadhrami Traders. Ingham (eds). pp. G. Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Arabian Peninsula: Society and Politics. Lienhardt. 1997. P. Hurst & Co. Lienhardt. Fuccaro. A. Arab Seafaring in the Indian Ocean in Ancient and Medieval Times. N. London: London Centre for Arab Studies. T. W. NY: Overlook Press. ‘Some Aspects of the Trucial States’. ‘Understanding the Urban History of Bahrain’. J. N. A. The Arab Shi‘a: The Forgotten Muslims. 1839–1967. Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 35/2 (2001): 175–87. Ingham. Journal of Social Affairs 19/75 (Fall 2002): 13–42. J. Disorientations: A Society in Flux: Kuwait in the 1950s. 1999. Das Gupta. 2000. al-Shahi. 2002. Princeton: Princeton University Press. New York: Columbia University Press. ‘The Authority of Shaykhs in the Gulf: An Essay in Nineteenth Century History’. Freitag. Consular Work Annual Review. Khuri. Brill. Aden under British Rule. Copenhagen: National Museum of Denmark. Arabian Studies 2 (1975): 61–75. in N. Fuller. P. Kanoo. London: Curzon. Khans and Shahs: A Documentary Analysis of the Bakhtiyari in Iran. and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean. Reading: Ithaca Press. H. Cross-Cultural Trade in World History. Newsletter of the Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM) 3 ( July 1999): 12. 219–30. (eds) Modernity and Culture from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Garthwaite. ‘Islam and Urban Space: Ma’tams in Bahrain before Oil’. H. Leiden: E. G. Tribe and State in Bahrain: The Transformation of Social and Political Authority in an Arab State. B. Scholars. The Merchants: The Big Business Families of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. R. R. Fawaz. London: C. 2001. Gavin. (eds) Asian Merchants and Businessmen in the Indian Ocean and the China Sea. Hourani. A. S. J. London: George Allen & Unwin. F. G. ‘Globalization and Heritage Revival in the Gulf: An Anthropological Look at Dubai Heritage Village’. G. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Fattah. A. Nationals and Expatriates: Population and Labour Dilemmas of the Gulf Cooperation Council States. C. Albany: State University of New York Press. Fuccaro. D. 1500–1800. L. 1750s–1960s. ed. . I. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Woodstock. The Politics of Regional Trade in Iraq. pp. Her Majesty’s Government. Lienhardt. The House of Kanoo: A Century of Arabian Family Business.88 James Onley Curtin. Lienhardt. Lombard. Merchants of Maritime India. and Aubin. ed. and Francke. A. ‘Men’s Dress in the Arabian Peninsula: Historical and Present Perspectives’. R.). 1745–1900. P.. 1984. 40–54.

The Evolving Culture of Kuwait. pp. ‘Maritime Asia. trans L. The Global World of Indian Merchants. Onley. Kenny. . Yamani. ‘Port Cities as Nodal Points of Change: The Indian Ocean. The Arabian Frontier of the British Raj: Merchants. Modernity and Culture. and Country: A Nineteenth-Century Persian Merchant. American Historical Review 98/1 (February 1993): 83–105. Risso. Merchants and Faith: Muslim Commerce and Culture in the Indian Ocean. 1890s–1920s’. M. pp. Changed Identities: The Challenge of the New Generation in Saudi Arabia. in Lombard and Aubin (eds). C. Boulder: Westview. 75–95. forthcoming. 1999. Middle Eastern Studies 34/1 (1998): 87–102. E. ‘Muslim Identity in Maritime Trade: General Observations and Some Evidence from the Eighteenth-Century Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean Region’. Vaziri. 1985. K. 1990. Haj Muhammad Hassan Amin al-Zarb.Transnational merchants in the nineteenth-century Gulf 89 McPherson. in Fawaz and Bayly (eds). Mahdavi. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Scarce. ‘Islam and Trade: The Case of Some Merchant Families from the Gulf ’. al-Sayegh. Society and State in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula: A Different Perspective. 2000. 297–309. F. Boulder: Westview. J. M. 1500–1800: The Interactive Emergence of European Domination’. 1993. For God. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. al-Naqeeb. New York: Paragon House. P. Rulers. International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 21 (1989): 381–92. London: HMSO. G. Wills. 1750–1947: Traders of Sind from Bukhara to Panama. Risso. 1995. M. 1900–90’. J. Mammon. M. H. Markovits. Naulleau. ‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society: The Case of Dubai. K. Iran as Imagined Nation: The Construction of National Identity. S. London: Routledge. J. and the British in the Nineteenth Century Gulf. Asian Merchants and Businessmen. 2000. P. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs.


Part II Global and local networks .


Coast Cup was therefore organized. it is interesting to consider the way football competition took shape in the Gulf. or the visit of a prominent shaykh. and performances varied according to the locality.1 this process is not simply the duplication of a once-weekend tradition. circumcisions. a Persian Gulf Cup came into being. however. India and Oman. It is. As Khalaf explains in his seminal analysis. It must be contextualized within the broader processes of the oil economy. An explanation of this phenomenon goes beyond the revival of cultural heritage in Dubai or the UAE. more than 4. . Indeed. the building of modern nationhood and of global cultural processes. These informal events were characterized by a relaxed set of rules. Some of the racing camels are selected for transportation to other Gulf countries to participate in more races. players or coaches from their homelands are recruited and deserve special mention in their media. generating a flow of money for funding and for rewards.000 camels have been taking part in the finals of the camel-racing season at Nid al-Shiba track in Dubai and in al-Wathbah outside the city of Abu Dhabi. Sudan. but as a way to recapture differences3 that are more than a reiteration of the past. Coastal populations and rulers were uneasy with this semantic confrontation. migrant communities are also part of this narrative since teams from their home countries visit the UAE. of the nationhood of the UAE and of a privileged affinity with other Gulf societies. From the mid-1980s. the situation changed radically as camel racing became a way of reasserting bedouin culture against global values and praising the leadership of the United Arab Emirates.4 Dubai: global city and transnational hub Roland Marchal In the pre-oil days. Moreover. Since the mid-1990s. weddings. Along the same line of thought. Iran. it has become a metaphor for the nation’s rush towards greater modernization. sport is a fruitful. camel races were held in small local communities on festive social occasions such as religious holidays. if incomplete. As soon as an Arabic Gulf Cup was established. an ‘invented’ tradition2 that has undergone a dramatic process of rationalization. way to assess the way globalization is taking place: not as a unifying process as is so often claimed by economists. It did not reflect their interests or the way they wanted to construct their identity. involving workers from Pakistan. Racing itself is not simply an expression of bedouin culture (supposedly shared by all of Dubai’s natives). Somalia. rather.

94 Roland Marchal Instead of using those cultural practices. which is too rarely taken into account by academics: the role Dubai plays with regard to Africa. accessibility to trade in all kinds of items in significant quantities. Dubai’s success is attributed to a host of factors. Indian). and the diverse nationalities of the business community (Iranian. one could argue on the basis of reasonable evidence that such processes are not rooted in the current modern or postmodern era. as well as special attributes. which has been consistently used by some authors. world cities basically are the sites where world economies interconnect. it provides some food for thought on the way that Africa has become a new frontier for the development of Dubai. However. it highlights a few parameters that explain the growth of Dubai as a global city. Oman. Central Asian and African countries are considered. Although this description is fairly accurate. This gap between official and non-official figures is actually a good indicator of Dubai’s success: exporting is basically free and informal trade is a major dimension of this activity. Dubai could be one case that corroborates the view that. Dubai’s fame as a commercial centre has increased tremendously over the last decade. India. we can use other ways to assess the process of globalization and transnationalization which has been taking place in Dubai for the last two decades. Iraq. refers to the scholarly description of the world economy between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries by the French historian Fernand Braudel. re-exports from Dubai reached 120 countries over all continents). Dubai as a world city The notion of ‘world city’ refers to at least two schools of thought. mostly towards the other emirates of the UAE. Kuwait and other countries beyond the region.5 Next. In 1999. contrary to the assumption of many scholars of international relations. In his view. focusing more on external than on internal factors.4 This chapter limits itself to describing only some aspects of this current trend and addresses one specific example. Arab. airports. an educated guess is that about 80 per cent of the goods were re-exported. globalization started long before the early 1980s. quality of services. ease in obtaining visas. beyond the traditional (often colonial) linkages that exist with some countries such as Egypt and Sudan. First. especially when Iran. free zones that attract international firms which are reluctant to invest under the sponsorship regulations enforced in most of the Gulf countries. These include excellent infrastructure (ports. Saudi Arabia. In this sense. For instance. which allow visiting traders easier access to the market and the opportunity to enlarge commercial contacts well beyond the region (in 1999. Although globalization essentially means . but refer back to earlier periods. In conclusion. imports reached 65 billion dirhams and re-exports were officially valued at 15 billion dirhams. The first. telecommunications) managed by a skilled administration. roads. Iran. questions will be asked about the ability of Dubai to continue playing such a role beyond its immediate region. the lowest taxation on imports in comparison to other countries in the region.

the role of the state. There is another concept of the world city. socio-geographers and economists. It is therefore worth bringing into the discussion some elements of comparison using this framework. it is possible to note some characteristics underlined by this approach in the case of Dubai.10 Without going further into this conceptual debate. Although many transnational companies no longer keep their headquarters in central areas of these major cities.7 among others. Since this is only a short chapter. according to this definition. which raises very challenging questions about the current emergence of the ‘global city-region’. It is worth trying to compare this dynamic with that of other city-states in order to emphasize the conditions that enabled the emergence of Dubai as a global city. but the author believes that they could provoke reflection in terms of historical economic sociology. The figures provided above are only part of a massive set of evidence of the role Dubai plays for the Gulf as well as the Indian subcontinent and other parts of the Arab and African world. The key meaning is that the spatially dispersed global economy requires locally based and integrated organization. descriptions and justifications will be brief. This attempt has generated a great amount of academic discussion and criticism. African and Western economies. It is important to reiterate here the four dimensions that allow reflection on the constitution of such entities. one has only to measure the attributes of global cities while ignoring the critical importance of understanding the mutual relationships between individual members of this system of cities. which was developed mostly from the 1980s. The four points are: the relatively weak political status of Dubai. played a major role in refining the notion into the concept of ‘global city’ nowadays used by urban theorists.9 Parameters used for these measurements have been criticized as over-Westernized (major companies were mostly US and Canadian) and as reproducing an ideological difference between Western cities (urban theory) and third-world cities (urban development). the long duration of citésentrepôts (‘warehouse cities’) linking Asian.8 First. the specialized firms which they rely on to produce the capabilities and innovations necessary for command and control of their global operations have remained or chosen to establish themselves there.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 95 the unification of economic systems and flows at the global level. . A Braudelian approach Many analyses rightly emphasize the internal dimensions of Dubai’s development as the main elements for its success. after a first attempt by Hall6 in 1966. Friedmann and Sassen. and this takes place in global cities. such an approach still appears meaningful in the case of Dubai since it puts an emphasis on the mercantilist dimension of its economic development and world function: a significant node in the global trade network (exemplified by the container-ship or airline routes and re-export figures as well as the growing ability to deliver market services beyond its neighbourhood). and the aggregation of business classes from different backgrounds.

Under present-day conditions. Nonetheless. Should this apparent lack of political aura be seen as a weakness? The answer appears to be ‘no’. one might be tempted to view this weakness as more of an asset than a liability. Despite huge spending on military hardware. there is no doubt that.000 Emiratis are of Iranian background. Today. exports and re-exports from Dubai to Iraq reached US$176 million. Venice was a strategic economic player though it did not have any major industries or a vibrant banking and financial sector (the latter was limited to its close vicinity). from the control of trade routes to the expansion of commercial and industrial capacities. the latter should be considered ‘the economic capital of Iran’. in 2000. to quote Fariba Adelkhah. Its foreign policy. both before and after 11 September. Figures from 2002 indicated .000 (half being in Dubai). Antwerp was one of the main trading centres in northern Europe despite not even owning its own ships (which were considered to be a strategic asset at that time). differences are very meaningful: Venice was a strong city-state. Genoa was a leading banking hub but could not be considered a prominent trading centre.96 Roland Marchal The status of power Dubai can hardly be seen as a major player in regional or international politics. four times the amount of 1999. Iranian migrants in the UAE number about 100. Amsterdam was part of the United Provinces. including the USA and France. is shaped under the tutelage of Abu Dhabi. again.14 This figure does not take into account the informal trade in smuggling goods into Iraq in contravention of UN regulations. The apparent weakness of Dubai in backing up its sovereignty claims over a territory therefore has advantages that a politically powerful Dubai would lack. its security has depended mostly on defence agreements with Western powers. One may provide two justifications for this view. Along with most of the Gulf and the Arab world. while neither Antwerp nor Genoa had any political influence at all. Only London had all the instruments of political and economic power.000 and Iranian companies there 3. the truth is that they may actually reach over 50 per cent. Only Amsterdam and London achieved economic power.13 Most analysts are keen to point out that although official re-exports from Dubai to Iran represent around 20 per cent of total reexports. Despite the ongoing conflicting territorial claims over some islands by Tehran and Dubai. The historian Fernand Braudel11 noted that many city-states that have played a comparably significant role in history actually lacked the instruments of power.12 At the end of the fifteenth century. At a strictly political level. This lack of prominence allows a form of strategic opportunism by which politics and economics could be handled with a loose consistency and without too much interference. if any. including all varieties of credit facilities and banking. there was very little sympathy in Dubai for the Ba‘ath regime in Baghdad. Two very typical examples are the relationships Dubai has developed over the last two decades with Iran and Iraq. and this provided protection. One should also remember that 70.

whose subsistence will be strategically linked to the success of new industrial and commercial activities. 21 per cent of China’s imports and 37 per cent of its exports went via the British colony. The role of the state Dubai’s state plays a great role in the economy. this comparison with Singapore cannot be taken too far. The state in Hong Kong has been much less interventionist and the industrial fabric is quite different from that of Dubai: rather than international firms. the interface between the continental Chinese market and the outside world. the port’s economy has been a crucial factor for economic expansion: both Dubai and Singapore are hubs for global container transport. from the very beginning. Dubai benefits fundamentally from foreign direct investment (FDI – in Jebel Ali and other free zones) and the involvement of international corporations. As in Singapore. the key economic actors have been small and medium enterprises which settled there after the Communists took over (mostly from Shanghai). As in Singapore. until 2002 in March16 (this is also the period of nowruz. In the 1920s. the famous Dubai Shopping Festival. which attracts many Iranian tourists to the small emirate). In Singapore. highly interventionist.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 97 that the value of exports and re-exports reached a peak of more than US$550 million. Singapore is an industrial outlet in a major sense while Dubai is not. as the two share a colonial history and the presence of a large British community in the administration as well as in the main trading houses. This situation raises a number of questions. and this has boosted their commercial growth. This should not be surprising. Dubai’s strategy is not as close to Hong Kong’s as is often thought. There are major differences that may play quite a significant role over the years. This command economy is attempting to build the cornerstones of a post-rentier Dubai. Hong Kong was. which can be difficult to answer because transparency is not a major feature of Dubai’s economic management. This is justified by the claim that the building of trade and service infrastructure should be achieved before oil revenues decline significantly by the 2010s. by definition. the state in Dubai is. its importance was re-evaluated after the Korean War and subsequent events in continental China. although most analysts are inclined to believe that it is slightly better than in other Gulf states.15 Many initiatives taken over the last decades by Dubai’s rulers have in fact been copied from Singapore – for example. Hong Kong’s port was more important than that of London or New York.17 In both cases. Two of these differences are of note. The rate of exports over re-exports reaches 30 per cent in Singapore while it is only about 10 per cent in Dubai (even taking into account . Although its expansion suffered after the Communists came to power in Beijing. Dubai actually shares more similarities with Singapore than with Hong Kong. First. Nevertheless. In this sense. the state nationalized the port in 1905 and regulates the job market. though at a much lower level. By 1880.

As mentioned in the previous section. played a major role in its recession.18 a Gujarati port which gained prominence from the time that the Mughal dynasty took over India in 1573.98 Roland Marchal the industrial output from Sharjah’s quite significant industrial sector). They include the descendants of some Gujarati groups such as the Bohra and the Khojah. is still far behind. It must be seen in the future whether the free zone of Jebel Ali will be able to change this situation dramatically. Second. Asian and Arab economies. more than economics. British and Arab merchants were involved in them. This permanence also highlights the role of certain trading communities which have been crucial in the development of international trade networks over the centuries and are still significant in the economic setting of contemporary Dubai. Later on. Jeddah and Asia. up to the first decades of the eighteenth century. It is certain that geo-politics. It is also worth mentioning that the decline of Surat is not strictly linked to internal events. Those international trade networks were not ethnically homogeneous: far from it. business people of Iranian origin constitute a significant share of the business community at all levels and are key actors in various ways in connecting Iran with the world (including the USA. The most significant was certainly Surat.19 and still represent a significant share of local business community. It is not surprising to see elements of those groups economically active in East Africa. took over the networks with the support of European governments. This historical occurrence emphasizes another pattern worth considering. despite the relative prominence of some groups compared to others. Surat was then a major interface between Asian economies from southern China and Malacca up to the Gulf. despite the embargo) through formal and informal networks passing through the Iranian free zone of Kish or through other ways. Surat connected Mocha. . the successes of the trade hubs were not linked to the homogeneity of their business classes. Singapore has a vibrant banking and financial sector. the Arab countries and East Africa. when the Dutch took over the Indonesian archipelago. who had played a subaltern role in those trade networks for decades as pirates or traders. and also the Hadhrami and Omani (whose communities still exist in Singapore and Indonesia). Dubai fits very much into this group of city-states. while Dubai. despite the presence of many banks. Throughout the eighteenth century. The aggregation of business classes from different backgrounds As mentioned earlier. though more goods were coming from its hinterland (Ahmadabad) than Asian supply markets. A permanent hub linking world economies Although this could hardly be considered a reason for Dubai’s success. In 2000. and in any case is far below that of Singapore. Dutch. Westerners. one should emphasize the permanence in the greater region of trading hubs connecting Western. Indian Banians. stock exchanges were set up both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi but the success is not yet as great as had been expected.

and never equal to that of the autochthonous business community. and Dubai still has more to offer than many states in the greater region. and Afghanistan was ranked tenth in re-exports from Dubai in 2000. concerns the issue of cultural expression. Dubai did its best to benefit from the troubles in the region. The first question is: to what extent is there a single business class in Dubai? The way the society seems to function at the grassroots level indicates that it is organized as an archipelago of communities whose contacts and interactions are clearly limited to the market and the mosque. Nevertheless. A partial answer – more an element for discussion – is provided by Fernand Braudel. the answers to which elude the author. as business opportunities were growing. what is relevant is comparative advantage. along with the livelihood of most of the population. the feeling is that cultural expressions are very stratified. On the contrary. This sketchy description. Dubai’s rulers have been eager to attract segments of the foreign business community. the decision to welcome Iranian traders at the beginning of the last century may appear to have been the most successful strategy. who underlines the fact that cultural and economic dynamics have been quite separate in the rise of the city-states in Europe during the classic period. The civil war in Lebanon brought a significant community of skilled workers and entrepreneurs. The Afghan Taliban were disliked by the international community even before 11 September. India has been involved for years in an attempt to liberalize its economy. room was also given to Indian merchants over the last few decades. Moreover. which disrupted traditional commercial routes and created a window of opportunity for Dubai. Another contributing factor was the war in Chechnya. an outsider has difficulty in envisioning the constitution of a common culture shared by everybody. Because of the huge heterogeneity of the people living in Dubai. either Lebanese or Palestinian. The Islamic Revolution in Iran and its subsequent war with Iraq pushed many wealthy Iranians either to migrate to the emirate or to use it for business purposes (such as trading with the USA despite an official embargo which was less than enthusiastically endorsed by US firms). the place where major cultural trends were evolving was Florence: its dialect became prominent in Italian . Last but not least. but their regime was recognized by the UAE. political or economic predicaments never constituted an incentive to stay home or to return. While Genoa and Venice were key economic centres. The recognition that trading networks are a strategic asset cannot be dismissed.20 With hindsight. whose representatives had already travelled to Central Asia to assess markets and find counterparts. in line with the first.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 99 At different times. Iran had to cope with the consequences of the Islamic Revolution and. though the status of those business people is often different. in addition to the Hadhrami and other Arab business people. Does this correspond to a fair description of the relationships among the business community? A second question. in other states. as far as it is correct. Later. business people and companies that had settled in Kuwait moved to Dubai and stayed there in the aftermath of the 1990–1 Gulf War. raises two questions.

100 Roland Marchal literature. in which poor migrants get rich overnight. Central Asian. Malaysia. the cultural centre was Rome. the global city approach allows emphasis on at least three aspects. This is associated with both explosive dangers and creative new opportunities for social mobility. In more theoretical terms. But these are only examples of the ‘dark side’ of this heterogeneity and should not be seen as especially surprising. Chinese people of various origins). while Amsterdam was economically triumphant. More interesting and challenging are the discourses of the migrants coping with a state which provides them with a better living than they could expect at home but still far from the cosy livelihood of a welfare state. Taking into account what has been said previously. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) and Asian countries (Indonesia. South Africa (whites) and other European countries) and Arab countries (Sudan. though no expert wants to go public with figures (for reasons of political correctness). Egypt. except when incidents occur in a public place. . the way it shapes its activities against the prevailing clichés and so on. concerns are often raised off the record. with more than 90 per cent of the workforce made up of migrants from the West (Britain. though sometimes reluctantly. Indian and Russian mafias try to develop their activities in competition with older. Dubai could be easily used for money laundering and. but can be detrimental to social justice. One should also mention the social division of labour that loosely delineates each community within a range of specific activities and sectors. America. If globalization is a meaningful phenomenon. One example of the many potential studies is that of the ‘urban legends’ of Dubai. A global city approach In order to avoid overlapping arguments. as happened recently. and economic polarization. Yemen) or from the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent (including Kerala. Heterogeneity Global cities experience considerable cultural and demographic heterogeneity as a result of large-scale migration. one may have to consider the many different ways a foreign community is organized. Being such an obvious melting pot. by the state since 11 September. then crime and trafficking should also be affected by it. linked to cultural and demographic heterogeneity. Dubai has generated a number of security concerns that have been taken more seriously. the trend to constitute a region. increasingly. this section will be shorter. and the Renaissance started there. Local media tend not to report such events. Dubai more than anywhere else in the UAE is illustrative of this heterogeneity. Nepal and. Lebanon. settled groups of a similar nature. In the sixteenth century.21 Drug trafficking is a problem that is more openly addressed by officials and local newspapers.

In order to challenge the supremacy of the Bahrain Monetary Agency. While in the past most metropolitan regions were focused mainly on one clearly defined centre. as well as in the commercial realm. Sharjah. key issues will be the regulatory framework and the final agreement with a reluctant UAE Central Bank. social and spatial terms. Without putting much emphasis on the institutional dimension. But one should look beyond that and take regionalization more seriously. where Sharjah had pre-eminence during the colonial period.24 Social and economic polarization A key effect of globalization and economic restructuring on the social geography is even more challenging in its direct political and policy implementation. . Bahrain and Dubai are squaring up for a conquest to decide which of the two states is the region’s international banking centre. Informal trade networks boosted by access to easy and cheap travel and cargo services (either with old Russian aeroplanes or dhows) have for a long time created dense interconnections between regional sites. The achievements of the Gulf Cooperation Council also offer some food for thought since it is moving slowly towards better regional economic integration. at least as a trend. Although in competition. one should note that some industrial dynamics. this goes with competition rather than pure consensual planning. where Sharjah provides hospitality to most visitors from the former USSR. a common taxation system was set up and should develop further. this is more than a move from a home in Sharjah to the more expensive office environment of Dubai. To a large extent. with the current project to develop a residential area near the Jebel Ali free zone. In the case of Dubai. At the beginning of 2003. Moreover. It is becoming apparent that globalization and its associated forms of economic change tend to widen the gap between the wealthy and the poor in economic. including their favourite commodities. But it would be premature to build on these first achievements. related to what economists call ‘industrial districts’. the new city regions of today are becoming increasingly polycentric and multi-clustered agglomerations. The best examples are Sharjah and the current regionalization of the gas sector in the area.22 are also taking root among various countries of the region and Dubai.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 101 Polycentrism There is a pronounced change in the spatial morphology of the global city towards what might better be called the global-city region. Of course. the fledgling Dubai International Financial Centre has recruited a ‘dream team’ (from the UK and Hong Kong) to attract international operators. this dimension points to different phenomena. can be increasingly seen as a conurbation in which dwellings are mostly continuous from one city centre to the other. Dubai and its neighbour.23 Of course. as a look at travel statistics clearly demonstrates. both emirates have complementarities in the industrial sector.

for instance. as the youth. This double approach of looking at Dubai as a global or world city has not considered other important indicators. The first occurred on 7 November. India. How will the meritocracy. the situation is radically changed. regular cabinet reshuffles and wider distribution of wealth. Dubai’s rulers are under increasing pressure to accommodate foreign investors and. including the changing international challenges to which the Gulf region has to respond. along with other Gulf states. or the education policy will be framed. This company. Subaltern globalization:27 Africa as a new frontier for Dubai? Two events that were in the headlines in the last two years could highlight the new importance of Dubai for African economies and people. be enforced? Will it be in all sectors. whose headquarters were in Dubai.25 One can therefore imagine how wealthy foreigners bringing a cosmopolitan culture could sooner or later be made into scapegoats by deprived sections of the native population. The nationalization of the workforce is therefore a very complex issue which raises questions about the way the end of the oil rent will be managed. Dubai therefore offers the view of a highly segmented population in terms of social class. improvements in daily life were such that no grievances resulting from the economic polarization were raised. as mentioned in the introduction to this volume. who have always lived in such a world. Dubai’s rulers seem to adopt a less proactive set of behaviours. For decades. Nevertheless. al-Barakat (not to be confused with the Saudi-owned Islamic Bank). On the other hand. income and racial conditions. which was built through oil revenues and the rigid distinction between autochthonous and foreign communities. and substantial political reforms do not yet seem on the agenda. For the older generations. the question of poverty was mostly seen as relevant to the migrant workers. has embarked on major political and economic changes. Pakistan and Africa. The second section deals with this latter dimension. the major one . for instance. or in specified ones. is actually trying to develop policies to tackle various challenges. does not fill the gap between the wealthy natives and the others. when the assets of a Somali money-transfer company.102 Roland Marchal Dubai. were frozen by the UAE authorities in response to a request made by the USA and endorsed by the United Nations. including the establishment of a parliament with real powers. which is basically supported by foreign companies. it allows us to define some of the greatest challenges this emirate will have to face in coping with globalization. as is the case today? What will be done in response to the need to provide a future for a growing section of the native youth? While Bahrain. Dubai’s rulers26 have been keen to define the role of their country not only as a node in the global trade network but also as a key place in the greater region encompassing the Gulf. cannot find employment and face a rather gloomy future compared to the previous generation. Today. have opened up the possibility of foreigners buying land or houses in the small emirate. The welfare state.

the Sierra Leone-based Revolutionary United Front. One of these factors concerns the internal changes that reshaped the economic profile of Dubai. Without going into details (which are. in fact. Others include links to the transformation of the African economic setting. was also operating in many Western states and in the Arab world. In what journalists call failed states. to a certain extent. and pre-date even the British colonial era. over the years.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 103 in the Somali market. where the state is still functioning in a decent manner according to African standards. Although marginal at the beginning of the 1990s and mostly confined to people from the Horn and East Africa (mostly Kenya and Tanzania). The 1980s are usually considered a lost decade for African development. In a country such as Senegal. challenged state regulations and opened new trading routes. economy has become. it should be noted that the informal. The apparent vacuum was filled by the ‘second’ or informal economy and the emergence of new economic operators who. the end of the Cold War and globalization. it reduced relationships with the Indian economy through a reorientation of economic flows towards the European (and British) markets.28 Although no hard evidence has yet been provided by the US law-enforcement services to substantiate their cases against al-Barakat. these events attest to a phenomenon that can be seen by anyone walking into the markets in Dubai. was financing its activities through the sale of diamonds to less-than-reputable middlemen in Dubai. even though their commercial dimension was not always prominent for years. Indian Ocean trade has connected the Arab Peninsula with India. eastern and southern Africa. It should be noted that contacts between Dubai and parts of Africa are not new.30 The colonial period also had an ambivalent impact. Formal economies in most African states either collapsed or weakened dramatically. . Historically. an attempt is made to explain why and how this dynamic is taking place. a crucial dimension of the economic and social African settings. or even decades. international NGOs and the European Commission. very important dimensions of this change). Customers were of many nationalities and included Somalia UN agencies. who were also operating for al-Qaeda. Moreover. or second. To some extent. Trading communities as well as migrant workers settled on the African coast and played a strategic role in developing commercial relations between those regions. Although rooted in history. the African presence in Dubai nowadays is significant. The second event was the allegation that one of the bloodiest armed movements in Africa. Globalization in Africa also framed new narratives on wealth accumulation and on distant societies. although these connections were never severed completely. the British colonial authorities moved staff from one colony to another and this also allowed networks to be rebuilt. or grey.29 In this section. These imaginaires du lointain should be understood as one outcome of the way globalization is perceived by African societies. this informal economy represents more than 30 per cent of the GDP. the current situation is heavily influenced by economic and social transformations that have taken place over the last two decades.

31 This trend developed further in the 1990s as a result of the structural adjustment policies undertaken by indebted African states that had to endorse IMF policies. Many participants in the informal economy were unable to get through the tough procedures established in Europe from the early 1980s. while Europe has practically closed its doors. visas are fairly easily accessible to Africans. This may seem trivial. A few are given here. Two very different examples illustrate the huge range of implications it had on African countries. and had to deal in cash and function via illegal methods. no questions were raised by customs officers while checking huge amounts of cash – they might only check that the banknotes were not fakes – transported by people in transit. Rwanda and Chad. and are often supported by an . Aeroflot split up and many aircraft initially flying to small Central Asian republics could be chartered at very low prices. Also notable was the emergence of new entrepreneurs and new traders.34 Dubai took on a strategic role as the interface between those countries. Moreover. This relative ease of movement is due to the fact that the trade networks are framed in such a way that some key problems have been taken care of. technology was hardly developed and needs were shared. At a quite different level. long enough to strike a deal and conclude a commercial operation.32 It would be wrong to assume that those actors were always medium or small scale and were unable to generate significant commercial capital. and had to re-orient their search for markets. a political dimension. In the 1950s and 1960s Afro-Asianism was a utopian project that had. visas are applied for through a hotel. The end of the Cold War has also reshaped the situation in many ways. the dissolution of the Soviet bloc created many new opportunities. at least up to 11 September 2001. those traders had to look for cheaper products than those available to the traditional European markets. For instance. Moreover.104 Roland Marchal it could represent more than 80 per cent. but it is actually an essential feature of this process. although not so important to Westerners. This was no longer the case in the late 1980s and 1990s. Those aircraft fly weekly to Eritrea. The case of Zaire at the beginning of the 1990s is paradigmatic. and this enhanced the development of an informal economy by the collapse or weakening of the formal one.33 Because of the increasing predicament of their societies and the poverty of their potential customers. At the economic level. Since the communist threat was over. Globalization of the markets and of the flow of people also became a matter of change. Aeroflot and other Eastern European airline companies employed Africans who had acquired expertise which they could use in the new business realm framed by privatization and the deregulation of air transport. It has been eager to capitalize on these transformations and dynamics and to mobilize its comparative advantages. both African and Asian economies were too undeveloped to offer ground for any meaningful cooperation. First of all. aid to African regimes diminished rapidly. What is true is that most of them did not have access to the normal banking system. at most. For instance. Dubai authorities do provide a transit visa for a maximum of 14 days. as in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ) or Somalia before the civil war. Both had mostly agricultural outputs to exchange.

quite often. This also encourages repeat business and a growth in customer numbers. A second strategic asset of Dubai is easy access. A great spectrum of goods is immediately available for any traders at interesting prices. Where the supply of certain products is discontinued in their home countries. The additional transportation costs are less than what would be paid as duty or bribes if sent directly. Dubai struggled to cope with the logistics.e. The very low taxation of imports makes the smuggling of most goods irrelevant. Benefits can be high and cover the cost of air transport. The balance seemed to favour Dubai. but many would prefer to use Porto Novo in Benin. many freight companies were set up in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. As mentioned earlier. Others came into being as a result of the privatization of state monopolies – the airline sector was one in many African countries. to a neighbouring country where customs officers are known to be flexible. increasingly active in Dubai. at the beginning. either by ship or by plane. but Sharjah wanted to play a role. gems. his political patronage network) and the like. The last advantage of Dubai is its status as cité-entrepôt. but the penalties are such that very few Africans. A third advantage of Dubai that might be challenged by the post-11 September new security arrangements is the lack of control at the border. since traders may reach Dubai with hundreds of thousands of US dollars. Items ordered by people from the DRC may take a number of routes. This kind of business is typical of war-torn societies whose economies . The logic. more than 743. and exports are basically free of any control. money laundering. who are settled and conducting business in Dubai would take the risk of allowing their visitors to stay. the political allegiance of the trader (i.500 ‘tourists’ landed at the Sharjah international airport and more than 550. That could explain why gold. often accompanied by friends or associates. Trade networks were therefore partially re-oriented. may send their commodities directly to Lagos or Port Harcourt.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 105 African national involved in a freight company. is not based purely on economics but takes into account transaction costs at different levels of the trade networks. of course. Then interest in Dubai grew as some traders compared the two markets. For instance. It is true that some travellers do try to extend their stay illegally. they are provided under the assumption that the informal traders would use the services of this company. depending on their destination inside the country. many goods bound for Kenya transit through Somalia where customs are as notional as the state apparatus.000 metric tons of cargo was taken out of the country. A subject of allegations and concern is. Chadian traders35 focused on Jeddah because they had access through hajj and ‘umrah pilgrimages to the well-supplied Jeddah market.37 which basically plays the role of a free port for its hinterland. therefore. For instance. The relatively low prices and the ease of trade encourage people to come back. Nigerian traders. their access and the way the merchants were dealing with them. ivory and other more dubious items are traded in Dubai.36 Goods may be sent directly to their destination market or. In 2000. under normal circumstances. informal traders can make a profit in buying such goods in quantities that can be sold in a market facing absolute shortage.

one may underline two potential ‘weaknesses’ that characterize Dubai as a trading centre for Africans. Despite all international commitments and rhetoric. it is very unlikely that growth and development have become strong enough to modify the current trends in Africa. A drastic regional reconfiguration following the war against Iraq may have ambivalent effects on the functions Dubai fulfils at present. Informal economies may flourish for years.38 But one should not dismiss other aspects: social labelling of Africans (as opposed to Arabs and Muslims) is not positive. it is not yet clear whether this could be the case again. and many informal traders. though trade with African destinations has increased over the past years. when they have enough money. which is linked to different parameters. offering above all security and freedom to conduct business without significant interference from the authorities (as long as it is legal. travel to Asia nowadays. What would be the role of Iran and Saudi Arabia in a radically new political setting as envisioned by the current US administration? . Conclusion It would be presumptuous. Nevertheless. The first one is that Dubai is not that cheap. and Dubai may benefit from that. Bangkok. to draw definite conclusions as to Dubai’s chances of lasting success. he might prefer to diversify the goods he is buying to be able to get them sold as quickly as possible. Jakarta and Bombay. of course). oil prices will pick up but no one wants to predict the longer-term impact. the success of Dubai is first of all based on the African economic context. Dubai as a global trade hub faces a number of challenges that once operated in its favour. This statement needs qualification. As new tensions arise. Dubai offers many dimensions of modernity as envisioned by its African visitors.39 The second one is that those Asian states are not so eager to use intermediaries. when a trader does not have commercial capital that is significant enough or his potential share of the market is too small. Despite the optimism of its rulers and its financial situation. where goods are manufactured and available at lower prices. and interactions with other communities are far from easy outside the market.106 Roland Marchal function as scarcity economies. and this trend is likely to be sustained for quite a while. This contrasts greatly with their situation at home. Moreover. In another case. South Korea and Japan are developing aggressive commercial policies towards Africa and one may believe that some results will come from this. Does this mean that Dubai has captured or will capture a great share of the African economy? The answer is clearly no. and the market opportunities are good there. There are already significant African communities in Hong Kong. On a short-term basis. at this stage. Dubai used to benefit from political instability in the region. China. On the one hand. Malaysia.

‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society: The Case of Dubai. 2002). ‘Poetics and Politics of the Newly Invented Traditions in the Gulf: Camel Racing in the United Arab Emirates’. There have been no major setbacks so far. It is difficult to assess whether the changes in the banking regulations. Dubai. Hopkins (ed. there are tensions on many key issues such as the widening of participation in the decision-making process (up until now the preserve of wealthy families) to include more plebeian technocrats. ‘Introduction’. 2 E. Dubai has a command economy in which the state is the crucial economic player. Middle Eastern Studies 34/1 (1998): 87–102. which may have contrasting impacts on the development strategy of Dubai. There is also a need to develop job opportunities for local people and diminish the role migrant workers play at all levels of the economy. 1900–1990’. 1997). Heard-Bey. G. . The fact that these revenues should drastically decrease in the next 20 years raises questions about the profitability of many infrastructures and the sustainability of others. will significantly affect this situation.). 6 P. 2001). Parts of Dubai’s success have been linked to money laundering and loose banking regulations. in E. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge. II (Paris: Editions du CNRS. indicating that its relative share of the regional trade has probably declined. Notes 1 Suleyman Khalaf. Clifford. Regional integration and the UAE’s adhesion to the WTO may also imply a number of changes. in Paul Bonnefant (ed. 5 For the internal dimensions of Dubai’s development. However.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 107 Countries of the region are not indifferent to the success of Dubai. 523–57. Despite a strong increase in international and regional trade. if rigorously enforced. cité globale (Paris: CNRS-Editions. Salalah and Aden might also become significant challengers in the region. ‘Le développement d’un état-cité maritime dans le Golfe: l’exemple de Dubayy’. Fatima al-Sayegh. Hobsbawm. 1982). Hall. Ranger (eds). 3 J. Hobsbawm and T. 4 A. The post-11 September period has already raised concerns about this state of affairs. competing with the once dominant Dubai-based business interests. MA: Harvard University Press. 1–14. which have become key economic players in Central Asia. R.). Increasingly. Iran is certainly the best example of this challenge but. Globalization in World History (London: Random House. its core GDP assets remain linked to the oil and gas industries. The World Cities (New York: McGraw-Hill. 1997). La Péninsule arabique aujourd’hui. pp.). because oil revenues were there to pay for mistakes and overambitious projects. pp. vol. Whatever diversification Dubai has achieved. Clearly. The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. one should emphasize the growth of Turkey and Syria. at the internal level. this element cannot be isolated from those already mentioned. Ethnology 39/3 (Summer 2000): 243–61. Marchal (ed. 1966). the amounts of re-exports from Dubai have changed little in comparison. Dubai will not continue to play such a function without altering its ambition to become an international financial centre. one can refer to F. beyond it.

1993). Das Gupta. 407–33. to put it in another way. The Paradox of American Power. Policy (Oxford: Oxford University Press. the difference between soft and hard power. http:/www. US. 2002). ‘Global and World Cities: A View from Off the Map’. This is only one example of a consistent practice of appointing well-known managers to increase the credibility of its economic policy (see www. reported local newspapers. 22 G. this change was proposed by the local traders who wanted to offer discounts at the same period as the Western markets (globalization of time and consumption!). City-States in the Global Economy (Boulder: Westview. 9 See the research of P. Ho and T. Taylor and his colleagues and visit the website www. W. Civilisation matérielle. One may be inclined to believe that it was also influenced by the prospect of a war against Iraq. The Global City (Princeton: Princeton University Press. 8 For a recent assessment. Gulf News.04 per cent in 2000. 1997). 1991). Dubai. A. 11 Fernand Braudel. which owns the world’s third-largest proven gas reserve. see A. vol. The Banker. économie et capitalisme. 25 January 2003. Brill. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 26/3 (September 2002): 531–54. Sources told the newspapers that the owner of two Dubai hotels had fallen out with the southern Indian mafia.108 Roland Marchal 7 J. The Cambridge Economic History of India. pp. 21 ‘Dubai businessman Sharad Shetty was shot dead as he entered the India Club in the city last night. the stock resulting from FDI in the UAE is still fairly limited: only 0. former Chief Executive of Lloyds and former Managing Partner at Arthur Andersen. Freitag and W. British and Japanese companies are key players. in Marchal (ed. ‘Indian Merchants and the Indian Ocean’. 2000). Das Gupta. Friedmann. 20 For instance. Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go it Alone (New York: Oxford University Press. 12 Or.loughborough.dree. 2001). Global City-Regions: Trends. 23 Especially with Qatar. He pledged very tough action’. ‘Bahrein and Dubai: Competition for Centre Stage’. for the first time. and mostly directed to the oil industry where French. Hadhrami Traders. (May 2002). Steiner. 18 A. Nye. S. Officially. XVe –XVIIIe (Paris: Le Livre de Poche. La richesse des régions. Theory. See J. Development and Change 17 (1986): 69–84. 1 January 2003. ‘Dubaï. to head up the regulatory body of the new Dubai Investment Finance Centre as an attempt to woo the global banking community in the same way that it has brought the big names of the information technology world and media to its new free zones. ‘The World City Hypothesis’.uk/gawc 10 J.ameinfo. Dudley. I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. capitale économique de l’Iran’. 1997). 17 According to UNCTAD.1700–1750 (Wiesbaden: F. ac. Benko and A. Lui. Technological progress and a huge demand for energy explain the move made by Dubai in a pioneer project. 1979). C. 15 S. K.). Robinson. 16 In 2003. 19 U. 1983). a distinction currently raised by the new US foreign policy. Dubai recruited City of London star Ian Hay Davison. cité globale. 15 April 2002). Dubai Police commander Major General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said the crime was not an ordinary incident but an action of organized gangs. J. it took place from 15 January to 15 February. La nouvelle géographie socio-économique (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. . Chiu. 1750–1960 (Leiden: E. G. 39–65. Sassen. Lipietz. Clarence-Smith. 24 N. pp. Les exportations et réexportations de Dubai vers l’Irak en 2000 et 2001. Indian Merchants and the Decline of Surat. 13 Fariba Adelkhah. Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean. 14 DRRE.

Wiesbaden: F. 1995). Chiu. 2002. 1993. Indian Merchants and the Decline of Surat. Bennafla. 30 See for instance Bill Freund. XVe–XVIIIe. Civilisation matérielle. 1996). Coussy and J. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 34 J. T. K. 31 V. 1900–1990 (London: James Currey. L’Etat entrepôt au Bénin. économie et capitalisme. A good introduction also is S. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 150–2 (1998): 297–329.Dubai: global city and transnational hub 109 25 Despite the fact that. F. Coussy. Commerce informel ou solution à la crise? (Paris: Karthala. Braudel. 1987). Boulder: Westview. 1995).). Sale of Gems from Sierra Leone Rebels Raised Millions Sources Say’.. 39–65. 32 J. D. 1700–1750. Le commerce frontalier en Afrique centrale. and Lipietz. 2001). cité globale. 27 In reference to the point made by Mohamed Ayoob. c. F.). S. Washington Post. International Relations Theory and the Third World (Basingstoke: Macmillan. Lauseig. ‘Al Qaeda Cash Tied to Diamonds Trade. Soule. J. pp. Benko. years ago. In a more academic vein. cité globale. Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Fauré (eds). Politique africaine 76 (December 1999): 5–94. ‘Dubaï. and Lauseig. 37 K. Entrepreneurs and Parasites: The Struggle for Indigenous Capitalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2 November 2001. in Marchal (ed. ‘The Garrison Entrepôt’. Igue and B.). at the Dubai Strategy Forum in November 2002. Jamal. A. 1997. ‘Report Says Africans Harbored Al Qaeda Terror Assets Hidden in Gem-Buying Spree’. Farah. Bibliography Adelkhah. But costs are lower in Sharjah than in Dubai. K. 29 Data and examples are available in Marchal (ed. ‘Subaltern Realism: When International Relations Theory Meets the Third World’. in Stephanie Neuman (ed. 38 ‘The Road to Hell is Unpaved’. The Indian Working Class of Durban. Le commerce frontalier en Afrique centrale (Paris: Karthala. see Janet Roitman. 28 D. Steiner. Insiders and Outsiders. Hibou. J. ‘Somalia: An Unconventional Economy’. La richesse des régions. W. 2002). 33 B. Paris: Le Livre de Poche. 1998). 26 See the speech of the Dubai Crown Prince. La nouvelle géographie socio-économique. Dubai. . capitale économique de l’Iran’. Entreprises et entrepreneurs africains (Paris: Karthala. The Economist. A. General Shaykh Muhammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Dubai. 39 Research in progress by the author. 4. J. introducing the discussion on ‘real governance’. Das Gupta. 1979. 36 Most of this traffic is routed to the ex-Soviet Union. Washington Post. Farah. Politique africaine 76 (December 1999): 5–94. Development and Change 9 (1988): 203–65. MacGaffey. Ho. chap. 2000. Ellis and Y. L’Afrique est-elle protectionniste? Les chemins buissonniers de la libéralisation extérieure (Paris: Karthala. Clifford. Cambridge. ‘La renaissance afro-asiatique?’. which is one of the best journalistic accounts of this pattern. 29 December 2002. they pressured other emirates to stop doing so and respect the federal regulations. 31–54. Paris: Karthala. and Lui. A book is forthcoming in 2004. MA: Harvard University Press. 1997. ‘La renaissance afro-asiatique?’. pp. Bennafla. 35 K. City-States in the Global Economy. 21 December 2002. G. C.

). 1995. ‘Poetics and Politics of the Newly Invented Traditions in the Gulf: Camel Racing in the United Arab Emirates’. Heard-Bey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (ed. vol. J. Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines 150–2 (1998): 297–329. ‘Bahrein and Dubai: Competition for Centre Stage’. ‘Merchants’ Role in a Changing Society: The Case of Dubai. D. Freitag. ‘The World City Hypothesis’. Taylor. 1966. Washington Post. cité globale. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Paris: CNRS-Editions. Sale of Gems from Sierra Leone Rebels Raised Millions Sources Say’. S. B. P. New York: McGraw-Hill. The Paradox of American Power. B. 1997. International Relations Theory and the Third World. Robinson. E. J. The Banker. Hall. 1996. London: Random House. A. Leiden: E. 2 November 2001.loughborough. pp. II. S. Ellis. V. Hobsbawm and T. F. Farah. Paris: Karthala. Marchal. (eds). ‘Indian Merchants and the Indian Ocean’. S. http:/www. and Soule. Development and Change 9 (1988): 203–65. Hobsbawm. Freund. and Clarence-Smith. pp. vol. P. London: James Currey.). 1– (May 2002). Farah. Sassen. 1 January 2003. G. The Global City. The Cambridge Economic History of India. Washington Post. A. A. Global City-Regions: Trends. 1991. 2001. 2001. Jamal. S. Middle Eastern Studies 34/1 (1998): 87–102.). MacGaffey. pp.dree. The World Cities. Ethnology 39/3 (Summer 2000): 243–61. Neuman. DREE (Direction des relations économiques extérieures) Les exportations et réexportations de Dubai vers l’Irak en 2000 et 2001. Scott. Dubai. Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go it Alone. Scholars and Statesmen in the Indian Ocean. Entrepreneurs and Parasites: The Struggle for Indigenous Capitalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. al-Sayegh. Igue. Ranger (eds). Hopkins. J. Y. in Paul Bonnefant (ed. L’Etat entrepôt au Bénin. ‘Report Says Africans Harbored Al Qaeda Terror Assets Hidden in Gem-Buying Spree’. Paris: Editions du CNRS. et al. 2001. 1987. La Péninsule arabique aujourd’hui. ‘Le développement d’un état-cité maritime dans le Golfe: l’exemple de Dubayy’.uk/gawc .110 Roland Marchal Das in E. Paris: Karthala. ‘Global and World Cities: A View from Off the Map’. Insiders and Outsiders. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 26/3 (September 2002): 531–54. N. 29 December 2002. ‘Somalia: An Unconventional Economy’. The Invention of Tradition. 523–57. D. U. Hibou. I. Development and Change 17 (1986): 69–84. ‘The Garrison Entrepôt’. Nye. 1995. 1982. New York: Oxford University Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. www. Theory. Policy. The Indian Working Class of Durban. 1997. Oxford: Oxford University Press. L’Afrique est-elle protectionniste? Les chemins buissonniers de la libéralisation extérieure.). J. (ed. J. and Fauré. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Entreprises et entrepreneurs africains. B. 1900–1990. Hadhrami Traders. Roitman. 2002. 1750–1960. K. Brill. 407–33. ‘Introduction’. F. Commerce informel ou solution à la crise?. ‘Al Qaeda Cash Tied to Diamonds Trade. 1900–1990’. 1998. Globalization in World History. Paris: Karthala. R. 2002. Khalaf. Dudley. G. W. Friedmann. (ed. 1983. J.

if not increasingly. increasingly integrated into a global system while at the same time distinctly inter-Arab in nature. locations of operations and investment strategies of individuals and companies in the media industries will highlight patterns whereby countries and nationals persistently. advertising representation (régies). The degree of crossborder activities among media professionals at the turn of the twenty-first century is indeed fostering a remarkable degree of interconnectedness among the peoples of the Middle East. geared to the taste and demands of a Gulf consumer audience and most often operated and controlled creatively by Lebanese and Egyptian professionals. and Lebanese. advertising. the study of professional activities. who continue to play a crucial mediating role in the emergence of this pan-Arab market. who finance most region-wide media ventures. In simplistic. since the internet and the print media and publications are admittedly important missing pieces. This chapter will show that this trend is noticeably true in the case of the culturally influential modern media industries.5 The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries Gaëlle Le Pottier The rise and intensification of professional and investment transnational media activities throughout the Middle East today may very well be bringing this region closer to becoming a true pan-Arab market than ever before. however. At the same time. a detailed analysis of this trend will also highlight the persistently distinct roles played by various locations and nationals in the region – most noticeably Saudis. play complementary yet distinct roles. This is not to say that these increasing transnational exchanges are leading to the formation of one homogeneous region. On the contrary.1 music and visual production industries presented here is not intended to provide a comprehensive view of modern media operations in the Middle East. In the Middle East. The selected satellite-related industries. preliminary terms. media and increasingly easy travel have already excited much interest in the so-called ‘globalization process’. are so intricately interconnected that their study in conjunction with one another becomes . this chapter argues that these industries are mostly financed by Gulf investors. in particular those related to the satellite industry. from North Africa all the way to the Gulf states. the exceptionally low levels of outside foreign investment and the use of a shared language have encouraged the emergence of one regional market. The choice of the satellite television. The effects of new technologies. however.

The current world president. one of the largest advertising associations in the world. the focus of this chapter is on an analysis of samples illustrating the overall rationale behind investment deals. Jean-Claude Boulos. The latest structural changes from ‘full service’ agencies to the creation of separate companies specializing in the various media services (public relations. Over the years. the examples used for each of these industries should be viewed as a representative illustration of findings based on over one year of field research in the Middle East3 and some 150 interviews with media professionals mainly based in Lebanon and Egypt. although many will admit that most creative directors still tend more or less simply to emulate what is being done in the West. media . and is now simply known as Leo Burnett. advertising. the people of the Middle East are now also more aware of the outside world than ever before.112 Gaëlle Le Pottier essential to our understanding of their recent evolution. professional and strategic level also helps better to identify and explain patterns of broader relevance. is Lebanese. the Middle East has obviously also been greatly affected by the introduction of new technologies which make cross-border information exchanges increasingly cheap and easy. In other words. Product advertising is slowly evolving towards the building of brand loyalty. at times meeting the highest international standards. the evolution of the advertising industry in the past 20 years provides the most obvious example of this growing integration. corporate identity. No doubt each one of these industries deserves a separate and more detailed study. represented in 95 different countries.2 Yet their interdependence at a financial. Among the various industries of interest to us. the Lebanese agency H&C became H&C–Leo Burnett in the 1980s. On the contrary. the way the industry is evolving shows the degree to which it follows international trends. From the late 1980s.5 More importantly. despite the fact that its managers and its basic local structure have remained unchanged. Hence. the evolution of a more pan-Arab market does not preclude the region’s integration into a global system adhering to international (mostly North American and European) trends and professional standards. nine out of ten of the largest advertising agencies in the Middle East are either fully or mostly owned by large American or European firms. Today. Integrating into a global system As mentioned earlier. on the nature of interaction between key professional regional players and on the logic behind the various strategic decisions made throughout the evolution of these increasingly pan-Arab industries. Owing in great part to the recent introduction of satellite television. and in fact the third Lebanese to be elected to this position in the 64 years of the existence of this US-based institution. the quality of advertising has considerably improved. And Lebanon’s successful bid to host the International Advertising Association congress in May 2002 is in great part due to its active participation in the IAA. The equipment used and the way business is run leaves little doubt as to the region’s growing integration into a global economic system. the existent regional networks – almost all Lebanese – were progressively bought out by the largest international advertising agencies.4 For instance.

the make-up of production teams is remarkably international. headed by Western general managers. hired for their Western know-how in the management and restructuring of large telecommunication companies. some of the largest pan-Arab stations and television networks are. Today. Furthermore. we work with multi-nationals that are now accustomed to a new way of working and it would be very difficult to convince the same clients. having held that position since its beginnings in the early 1990s. As is the case in all other Beirut-based production companies. a US national. Until very recently all film development and postproduction work was also done in Europe. that things should be different here. For example. production houses in Beirut. Italian. one of the largest production houses in Beirut. Europe and the Middle East. In satellite television. for example. It goes without saying that each of these individuals also brought along with him a few close Western associates to help him . while directorial expertise was mainly brought in from Europe. Talkies. the style and quality of production by now mostly meets international standards. So. Ian Richie. spearheaded the channel’s drastic structural and strategic changes. Arab Digital Distribution (ART network). if media professionals openly admit that these new entities – and in particular the introduction of media buying units – are the direct consequence of their international associations. was until recently head of the ORBIT network. they also generally recognize the fact that the Middle Eastern market does not yet produce enough advertising revenue to make them profitable. the agencies and actors were almost all based in the Middle East. or were until recently. Peter Einstein replaced him as Showtime’s president. Indeed. positioning it as the most popular station in the Middle East today. which in the past would most probably only have been entrusted to their Western counterparts. Although the production companies in the Middle East have remained locally owned.)6 are even more telling of the extent to which current regional trends are influenced by the local industry’s integration into a global network. Cairo or Dubai produce the majority of the large-budget advertising productions. Preproduction meetings are almost always conducted entirely in English. John Tydeman (an Australian national) was first involved in the Middle East as the CEO of Showtime (the fastest-growing pay-TV network in the region) and now heads ORBIT’s most direct competitor. or partnerships. and in Beirut in particular. French and South African) and only one was Lebanese. Alexander Zilo. Only markets producing large advertising revenues could financially justify the creation of specialized companies that would generate real economies of scale to compensate for the added intermediary and the cost of creating new entities. MBC’s CEO from 1998 to 2000. working with the same groups in the US. provided a detailed breakdown of its last eight productions: seven directors were foreigners (Belgian. But as one of the media directors puts it: It would not be very wise to try to stop or fight trends because we are dealing with one global economy. the same proportion was true for their directors of photography.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 113 content etc.

continue to lament the poor quality of research in the region. however. The importance of cultural insight and language may have limited Western presence in industries where these skills matter most. they are also acting and thinking more and more as private enterprises operating in a competitive market. the media industries remain fairly isolated or exclusively regional in terms of their market reach and the nationality of their employees. While media professionals. is an insightful one: according to the Lebanese advertising monthly Arab Ad. News and political programmes are also often adaptations of Western formats. .3 billion for a population of about 150 million people. Meanwhile. . the figures vary considerably and remain unreliable. professional and technical standards. But still operating within a distinctly Arab market Yet. Although the vast majority of non-Lebanese satellite stations are either publicly owned or in the hands of officials close to state authorities. The Middle Eastern market is not only an unfamiliar market.10 . in comparison to about $16 in the Middle East.7 . almost the same amount ($1.9 Total media revenues for the whole region amount to about $1. In spite of their real integration into a wider international – essentially Western – context. The limited revenues and low profitability of the media world in the region. in the USA almost $400 is spent per capita.114 Gaëlle Le Pottier implement his own vision and strategies. we are beginning to see advertisers and television stations emulating the type of viewership and audience analysis that is now systematically performed in North America and Europe. provides a more convincing argument. such as MBC’s version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire – by far one of the most popular and financially rewarding programmes on air. both in the way the news is presented and in the way auditors are invited to participate in live programmes and debates. for good reason. it may not be fitting simply to view ‘the spread of western media as one-way cultural imperialism’. However. for example. however. as Sakr eloquently argues. but the levels of advertising revenues generated throughout the region – and upon which these industries rest – are also and above all remarkably low. sex and occupational groups.5 million people. Market research in the Middle East has for instance started to examine the differing tastes and aspirations of a multilayered consumer base. managers and investors. dissecting it into different age. Depending on sources. in both absolute and relative terms. The broad comparison of yearly advertising expenditures per capita between the Western world and the Middle East. the most popular entertainment programmes in the Middle East today are adaptations of Western programmes. while in Israel. know-how.8 It would be difficult to dispute the growing presence and influence of Western managerial styles. which has still not sufficiently evolved to be able to contribute creatively or professionally to Western professional developments. the Middle Eastern media world is essentially and almost exclusively managed and financed by Arab citizens.2 billion) is spent on a population of some 4. in search of market-share gains and greater profitability.

12 The owners of these channels and networks remained. bring foreign prestige. Foreign directors. in order to service their clients wherever those clients’ products are sold. In her paper on the Middle Eastern advertising world. The logistics of their alliance. their Western partners or buyers practically guaranteed them the handling of important accounts for some of the largest global spenders. In other words.11 This point is relevant inasmuch as it confirms the limited degree of the involvement of the multinational agencies in the daily running of local affairs and in the actual creative process of their Middle Eastern representatives or partners. Western professionals in television are even rarer than those in the advertising field. also explains why little has changed at the regional level in terms of who runs the industry. but essentially have as much decision-making power as local directors as far as the final execution of advertisements is concerned. and why international firms have very limited direct involvement in the management of the region’s advertising industry. . Production houses are also all locally managed. These managers were essentially brought in as professionals with Western know-how who would implement large structural changes and share their expertise of the more experienced Western world. but essentially leave the market in the hands of Arab media professionals and investors who are reaching beyond their home territory to seek revenues. Leïla Vignal points to the fact that large international agencies basically extended their network to the region mainly for global strategic reasons. ‘the establishment of international advertising agencies in the Middle East is more a way for them to secure their multinational clientele in other regions of the world than a strategy for the conquest of new markets’. the industry of advertising representation remains an exclusively Arab domain. skills and local assets in order to achieve higher quality and profitability.13 Investing. however. following a logic and structure particular to the Arab world. an overwhelming majority of Lebanese in the positions of managing directors and creative directors. interestingly. brought in for the duration of the filming (usually a couple of days). the ultimate decision makers. Benefiting from the logic of international brand allegiance. had concrete yet differing reasons for close collaboration. beyond national borders and within the confines of a pan-Arab market. and still remain. As we will see later. In the 1980s and 1990s the largest Arab networks saw their absorption into global networks as an opportunity. acting and strategizing on a pan-Arab scale The limitations of Western involvement in the Middle Eastern media world are especially relevant to the argument of this chapter inasmuch as they help to explain why regional players are thinking and acting more and more at the regional level. But because television stations.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 115 Western acquisitions of regional advertising networks should therefore be viewed in the light of the market’s limited financial rewards. Western and Middle Eastern advertising networks. Arab advertising agencies essentially manage their own affairs with. Both parties. Low revenues are not only keeping Western investors at bay. The aforementioned Western managers are also in fact exceptions in the satellite television industry.

such as MBC of course. beginning one hour earlier and on Saturdays instead of on Mondays. to break even or even generate profit. production houses and advertising professionals are reaching outside their home markets. now temporarily accessible only to those with a C-Band. becoming a truly pan-Arab enterprise and the most popular and profitable station in the region. for example. they became the first and only television stations in the whole area. for example. Other stations. This is even more so in the case of Al Jazeera . such as MBC.14 So. which have a much larger cumulative audience. Based in a saturated Lebanese home market. are essentially non-profitable. for example. So basically. also reaped the benefits of pan-Arab advertising revenues. jumping from a 20 per cent to a 40 per cent market share and becoming the type of advertising dissemination with the fastest revenue growth by far. for an increasingly low cost. the importance of their non-Lebanese audience is such that Future TV and Future Sat. LBC or Al Jazeera.15 Their early entry into the popular pan-Arab satellite market. Television Private stations such as Future TV and LBC were among the first to reap the benefits of the rising popularity of satellite television when they began broadcasting on free-to-air satellite between 1995 and 1997. some Egyptian). with very little added cost. while Future TV made about $5 million at home compared to a much higher $23 million on its satellite channel. Between 1986 and 1999 alone.116 Gaëlle Le Pottier centre stage of all satellite-related industries. the region is also witness to the emergence of a few state players or wealthy financiers (mostly Saudi.16 allows them to use most of the programmes they are already producing for their home territory for their pan-Arab station. advertising representatives. who are willing and able to finance television stations and invest in various media activities in exchange for greater prestige and influence at the regional level. So. if not at the international level within the Arab diaspora. LBC (satellite) generated an estimated revenue of $45 million. even if the Saudi state station is the most watched in Saudi Arabia (clearly the most important national advertising market in the Middle East). Not only has technology allowed media to reach regional audiences. with too many stations and too little aggregate revenue. as opposed to $23 million on LBCI (terrestrial). Today. along with MBC. but a pan-Arab market reach has also become the obvious and essential means of achieving the required higher revenues. pan-Arab advertising revenues went from generating $52 million to $518 million. advertisers still prefer spending their money on pan-Arab press and television stations. changed the timing of their popular early-morning programmes to suit the schedule of their Gulf audience in the summer of 2002. in 2001. In search of a pan-Arab market and revenues There are several reasons why television stations. they were suddenly able to generate much higher income.

18 while al-Khalijia (fully owned by the Saudi Research Media Company). The wider its clientele. the large pay-TV pan-Arab television network. MBC’s representative) also need to build a solid pan-Arab client base in order to represent each one of them efficiently. opted for a private agent. Even the Egyptian government has made concerted efforts to revamp the programmes of its satellite stations in order to attract greater outside viewership. confirms this growing and general propensity towards region-wide representation. were also recently created with no home target market in mind but clearly for a Gulf-wide or generally Arab audience.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 117 (at times the most widely watched Arab channel in the Middle East and abroad as well).21 Apart from a few private. much of the flow and distribution of advertising revenue throughout the region. Hence. and that this is only feasible if one is present in multiple locations. mostly represents Lebanese and Kuwaiti newspapers and magazines. considerably helped from the outset by its privileged ties to a wealthy home market. aimed at the youth market). such as Zen TV (a Dubai– Future TV joint venture. for example. Kuwait. he needs to be physically close to the media he represents. independent media representatives (neither state-controlled nor in-house representatives such as ARA. the easier it is for them to successfully secure revenues for each medium. Antoine Choueiri. with offices in Lebanon. to represent their satellite channels. At the same time. Antoine Choueiri benefited from the increasing popularity and regional expansion of the Lebanese media and other key pan-Arab players such as Al Jazeera. as well as ORBIT. to some extent in a position to require advertisers to place advertisements in several other media to be able to use the one they really want. television and magazines have clear reasons for choosing representation from an agent with a wide pan-Arab network and operational base. remains too small a country to generate any substantial amount of advertising revenue. Although a relatively small player. this is also why media authorities in Egypt.19 The case of a lesser yet nevertheless true pan-Arab player. we are therefore left with only a small number of successful in-house representatives who represent sufficiently large or important media such as MBC (ARA) or the ART Network (AMC). Dubai and Paris. . Abi Assi explains that in order to operate as a media representative. one Saudi – al-Khalijia – and one Lebanese – Antoine Choueiri’s group. clearly dominating. Qatar.20 Najah Abi Assi. as well as to the advertisers who want to buy advertising space. and to some extent controlling. Saudi Arabia. pan-Arab players.17 Media representation Media representation today is an area of activity basically dominated by two major pan-Arab players. mostly grew through the expansion of its activities outside strict national borders. New stations. Indeed. Both have a strong home-market base but have become panArab media giants. since its home base. which still maintains strong state control over its television industry at the national level. These exclusive intermediaries are. Najah Abi Assi. even if their audience is localized.

in time and money.22 A Saudi advertising agent who came to Beirut to attend a preproduction meeting explains: ‘The degree of professionalism and the quality of production. a competitive and technical edge and varied local scenery. Thereafter each agency had its main offices throughout the Middle Eastern network compete to produce a full campaign. Dubai and Beirut. of course. Professionals themselves also compete for positions at the regional level. The advertising labour market is indeed highly mobile. the advertising hub of the Middle East. Most representative offices now focus their operations on their local market and act fairly independently from one another. travel outside their home base to meet with clients. these production houses were even able to compensate for the added cost of producing outside the Gulf states. but the industry there is still nascent and much less experienced. of course. Advertising agencies When the Lebanese advertising agencies began their regional spread in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Helped by the wide and early spread of Lebanese adverting agencies and professionals throughout the region – those that commission the productions – the business of advertising production in Lebanon boomed from the latter part of the 1980s to the mid-1990s. some of them Lebanese owned. so that eventually only the strongest work would be presented to the client. usually moving between Saudi Arabia. So we come here. A growing number of production houses are now opening in Dubai. locally servicing a much wider clientele wherever they happened to be. all the major Lebanese production houses now produce between 70 and 80 per cent of their work for a Gulf-based clientele. . When the multi-million-dollar Marina Towers project in downtown Beirut decided to launch an advertising campaign. There are actually almost no advertising managers who have not worked in several locations. they were actually pioneering a professional regionalization process. for us. Indeed. attend conferences and training sessions or participate in pre-production meetings.’23 Egypt. while at the same time offering them regional know-how and infrastructure. they invited several regional agencies to pitch a creative marketing campaign. These individuals also frequently. generally unable to attract outside commissions for a non-Egyptian audience. frequently interchanging creative directors and managers between agencies and/or across borders. pretty much guaranteed in Beirut. is worth the cost. for large bids – usually for large international clients and/or big-budget campaigns – agencies may compete internally against one another. also has an important number of production houses but they work almost exclusively for their home market. and in particular Dubai.118 Gaëlle Le Pottier Production houses Region-wide operations and professional exchanges are an obvious trait in the production of advertisements in the Middle East. However. We require the best and they can give it to us. Owing to relatively high production budgets.

even if. is not simply due to the identity of the companies themselves. talent is also sought out and marketed on a region-wide basis. the largest markets remain those of the Gulf. but largely represented by one national group spread across the region. fine arts. with their popular and experienced film industry.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 119 In search of regional skills and talent The high degree of mobility and interconnectedness of advertising professionals across the region is in great part due to the fact that a large proportion of these individuals are Lebanese nationals. Lebanese producers maintain a relatively strong regional presence. advertising.24 This Lebanese dominance. however. Jean-Claude Boulos. as it is dissimilar while being geographically distant enough not to represent a threat to their own values. but their overwhelming presence is quite obvious to any observer. so the majority are expected to look for jobs at the regional level. as in advertising. Those with talent pools who have been successful at the regional level are the Egyptians. Gulf viewers in particular have been watching Lebanese television programmes as both a curiosity and a window into a much more liberal Arabic-speaking world which introduces subjects and dress codes not allowed in their home countries. It is difficult to estimate the exact proportion of Lebanese. where their technical skills and linguistic abilities. it is also due to their level of qualification.26 When it comes to the production process. It is also worth mentioning that in the music industry. as mentioned earlier. Their graduating classes are obviously too large to be absorbed into the local market. Egyptian and especially Syrian and Lebanese singers in fact base their financial success on a regional – and particularly Gulf – market audience. The labour market in the advertising world is therefore not locally supplied. and the Lebanese in satellite television. filming and marketing taught in foreign languages (English or French). while. In search of local assets In the businesses of advertising and advertising representation (régies). A look at the distinct Lebanese lifestyle is itself a source of entertainment. As we will see later. including their ability to communicate in Arabic. operators are required to have local offices wherever their clients are based. estimates that 70–75 per cent of the budgets in the Arab countries ‘are in the hands of either Lebanese companies or Lebanese affiliates of international companies’. provide them with a marketable competitive edge. Egyptian actors remain the most abundant and qualified group in the region. If a large proportion of the managers and creative agents are Lebanese. The success of Lebanese presenters and entertainment professionals is interesting inasmuch as their regional success has grown out of a cultural and social distinctiveness. the World President of the IAA. rather than their similarity to the audience to whom they owe their popularity. Lebanon is home to a proportionally large number of universities which offer specialized degrees in graphic design.25 while also offering their students the opportunity to carry out practical training in a relatively active private local media market. In the case of .

Television stations are therefore free to operate from whichever location best suits their strategic needs and financial means. which typically stay put in their own national territory. ORBIT. choosing to open offices in several locations in order to maximize on distinct yet complementary economic. Kuwait and Syria. the base of a large number of competitive private channels. Beirut. Cairo and its nearby media free zone provide access to a modern infrastructure and studios as well as a large number of experienced and talented actors and technicians. on the other hand. invariably initiating collaborations and partnerships with non-Gulf audiovisual partners. this latest pattern can. have also diversified and intensified their operations in key locations such as Egypt’s Media City. What we have witnessed in the past few years is in fact the emergence of multicentres. ORBIT and ART. social and strategic assets. to a lesser extent. supplies a valuable pool of qualified human resources and a distinct cultural cachet within a relatively creative and free socio-cultural environment. Yet this network is still reported to have so far spent close to $1 billion in operation costs:29 a particularly large investment considering its meagre advertising revenues and its relatively small subscription base. Gulf financiers behind MBC. Egyptian and Lebanese stations by and large produce all of their programmes at home.28 So if the Lebanese typically export their know-how – acting as the region’s quintessential facilitators of transnational professional and cultural dissemination – it is mostly Saudi investors who have been exporting the capital that finances and strengthens transnational Arab media operations. Dubai and. A relatively more modest player among them is Prince Khalid bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd al-Rahman. by and large. most regionally spread out and financially powerful media groups in the Middle East today. each offering a combination of assets for media productions.120 Gaëlle Le Pottier satellite television. be attributed to the few Saudi owners of Gulf stations who also head the largest. the customer (the audience) and the provider (the stations) do not need to be close to one another. which no one location is able to supply fully. Dubai and its Media City offer the convenience of modern. Walid bin Ibrahim was the . Beirut. while the newer Gulf stations operate on a multi-location basis. because he is only really present on the media stage through his network. therefore. the setting up of its new headquarters in Dubai was accompanied by a noticeable increase in production activities in Cairo and Beirut as well. The emergence of a few omnipresent pan-Arab media financiers In fact. ART and some of the most recent specialized stations are now operating on a transnational and regional basis. More interesting is the fact that channels and networks behind the emergence of these regional production centres are all Gulf owned and financed. however.27 The truly transnational stations. ORBIT. When MBC decided to relocate in the Middle East. cheap locales and an efficient and investment-friendly bureaucratic set-up. and not the Lebanese or the Egyptian ones. are the Gulf stations. in terms of production and investment. For this reason. by far the largest spenders in satellite television.

In media alone. since it is principally owned by Egyptian investors. The most noticeable and omnipresent players among them. since Rotana has dominated the music-production business in the Middle East.30 Gulf owners’ involvement in the arts and the media does not stop there. through Ibrahim El Moallem and Dal El Shurouq. if not aggressive. its ambitions reach far beyond the music world. Muhammad Yassine. Saleh Kamel is the majority owner of Arab Media Company. Along with Walid bin Talal. if not the largest. however. and is a major co-shareholder of ART (AMC). for example. are Shaykh Saleh Kamel (owner of the Dallah al-Baraka group of companies) and Prince al-Walid bin Talal bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (head of Kingdom Holding). Muhammad Hassanein Heikal. holds some 50 media-related companies. media representative in the Middle East – now managed by Antoine Choueiri. Walid bin Talal’s involvement in the media and in telecommunications around the world is remarkably high. AHCAP is the important exception to the predominantly Gulf-based pan-Arab investment patterns mentioned above. active in various sectors of the media industry.33 AHCAP also recently purchased Sawt Lubnan’s rights. however. Saleh Kamel at first held a large percentage of MBC’s shares before selling them a few years later. arguably the most important Middle Eastern cultural heritage of the twentieth century. but in the Middle East alone. which used to be one of the largest. ranging from newspapers to advertising businesses and representatives. Through Rotana and its involvement with the Arab Holding Company for Arts and Publishing (AHCAP).35 The recent alliance of these Saudi investors with this large private Egyptian company is especially relevant to our analysis of current transnational trends in . Prince Khalid bin Sultan is the owner of the most widely respected pan-Arab newspapers. al-Hayat. he now owns 60 per cent of Rotana and 49 per cent of LBC. however. they are now also involved in an increasingly active. purchased a very large collection of Egyptian films. He also recently offered to buy Télé Liban. AHCAP has indirectly secured exclusive deals with Sawt El Fan (which owns the rights to a large number of Umm Kalthoum’s songs). Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali and future Al Nahar publications. having by now also. Meanwhile. Italy. Arab research media and ART and its platform for diffusion in Avenzano. which according to one of its directors. As one of its co-founders. he owns 10 per cent of MTV. representing a large portion of the most popular singers in the region32 and recently purchasing important (though relatively small) record companies such as Sawt Lubnan (Lebanese) and Sawt El Fan (Egyptian) – now therefore owning the rights to classic performers such as Abdel Halim Hafez and Farid El Atrash. and also officially owns Tihama. films. Lebanon’s national television station.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 121 principal player behind MBC when it was created in 1991 but is also and above all the owner of the larger ARA group International Holding Company. the largest and most powerful Arab music production company in the region.34 Admittedly. cinemas and publications throughout the Middle East. film production.31 Walid bin Talal and Saleh Kamel’s involvement with AHCAP (they are now board members) should not come as a surprise. LBC (satellite) and Rotana. campaign for ownership and/or distribution rights in the music industry.

Walid bin Talal or even Khalid bin Sultan all attest to this. Presumably. where almost all of his business is based. Yet. by and large. including AHCAP’s shareholders. contrary to what may be assumed from private investors. thanks to the growing number of pan-Arab distribution channels and operations. While MBC may now finally boast of its very recent financial viability. individuals such as Saleh Kamel and many others. who needs to stay in the good graces of the Saudi authorities if he is to preserve his much larger financial interests in his home country. could not and did not give them actual control over media content (in television programmes. the reason they remain involved in the media is the all-important element of prestige they gain from it. the investments of the key Gulf individuals also need to be put in the context of the changing yet enduring role of the state in the media. Therefore. With the ability to choose from a variety of international channels. To understand this phenomenon. there now is a rising appetite in the Gulf for Arab singers from outside the Arabian Peninsula. but these remain exceptions in a media market marked by a growing demand for entertainment. Much has already been said and written about the weakening hold of the state over what people see in the media following the regional inception of satellite television. in so far as it points to an overall entrepreneurial and strategic approach. These individuals all maintain close ties to their home states – even Saleh Kamel. partners and products also considerably contribute. Viewers are now exposed to an array of information channels. are far from being able to reasonably expect the same. reaching far beyond the borders of any given state. in themselves. From a cultural and political standpoint. however important. advertisements and music productions) especially at a time when viewership ratings are increasingly what matters most. this does not mean that they have by the same token succeeded in truly widening the audience for Gulf culture or inculcating Gulf-based political and social views in the rest of the Arab world. These private investors’ choice of location. It is true that this relatively small group of individuals alone has permitted the emergence of true regional media operations and basically hired most of the non-Gulf citizens working outside their home country. Professionals working closely with individuals such as Saleh Kamel.122 Gaëlle Le Pottier the media industry of the Middle East. Channels such as Al Jazeera and the Hezbollah-owned al-Manara stand out in so far as their political agendas continue to dominate content. the above-mentioned wealthy individuals or even Gulf states financing popular pan-Arab productions may have gained personal or state prestige while facilitating cross-border investments and cultural exchanges. they are still operating in an industry which is by and large non-profitable. For instance. viewers have become increasingly sophisticated and demanding as . to the region’s globalization and regionalization process. the impact of these transnational capital investments and business alliances should nevertheless not be overstated. even if Rotana dominates the music industry. but. all presenting different views and interpretations of social and economic events. On the other hand. Financial investments. especially since there are few other reasons that could help explain the huge financial losses they incur. few Gulf singers have succeeded in capturing the interest of audiences outside the GCC states. films.

the nature and mode of crossborder activities undertaken by the various participants have confirmed the articulation of an increasingly pan-Arab market. in fact. the private station LBC. While still keeping a close watch over the airing of issues of domestic relevance. It opened offices throughout the Middle East. although financed by a member of the Saudi royal family (and unofficially by King Fahd himself ). MBC even decided to merge with the private Lebanese station Future Sat. The Egyptian government. The nationalities of investors and . Before that. alliances. to compete at the regional level. To increase its advertising revenues and popularity. States therefore now show increasing willingness to finance media operations outside their own territory (almost always at a loss) and associate themselves with private. In an effort to reduce its operational costs and further increase its advertising revenues. In attempting to do so. forcing channels to compete with one another to an unprecedented degree. Yet. which now rent both studios and equipment in those areas for production purposes. while also keeping much of its traditional state control over the domestic information channels. in December 2001. Three examples clearly illustrate this phenomenon: Al Jazeera. the channel revamped its whole identity and programme grid. the Dubai authorities had decided to basically finance the new channel. they are also playing by the new rules of the regional satellite market. market expansion and investments all point to modes of thinking and strategizing that reach far beyond a state’s own borders.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 123 ‘consumers’. becoming an entertainment rather than a news channel. MBC. They too seek to gain greater prestige and influence abroad. letting its private Lebanese partner manage most of the operations in Lebanon. Region-wide operations. Egypt and Dubai even proved willing to minimize censorship and state control considerably in their media free zones in order to attract stations.38 It even recently gave one of its precious state-owned C-Bands and preferential access to cinema archives and studios in order to help the new privately owned station. Zen TV. al-Mehwar. Al Jazeera37 has clearly succeeded in capturing the attention and the recognition of large regional audiences. foreign partners in order to compete better at a regional level. themselves begun to act as competitive regional players while seeking to grasp the attention of audiences beyond their own borders. While keeping the required degree of control and socio-political censorship at home. since it acts either as a direct financier and/or exerts a great deal of authority over the stations’ principal private financiers. it has given Egyptian satellite channels a much greater degree of freedom. has recently made concerted efforts to increase the popularity of Egyptian channels abroad. the state still plays a very important role.36 The states have.39 Conclusion Throughout this analysis of media industries. thereby indirectly increasing the fame and power of its home state of Qatar. in a world where television stations remain by and large nonlucrative. has by now become the regional channel par excellence. Egyptian satellite and MBC. hired employees from across the region and introduced new programmes to compete aggressively with its direct rival.

2003). are not to be confused with advertising agencies. In the Middle East. 3 The research was mostly conducted in Lebanon between August 2000 and December 2001. Notes 1 Advertising representatives. modern media industries are nonetheless still marked by persistently clear sub-regional or nation-based patterns. also often called régies from the French. Mondialisation et nouveaux medias dans l’espace arabe (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose. . 2 For a more detailed study of the satellite television industry and more specifically the role of Lebanon and the Lebanese within. Mermier (ed. including France. as part of a research project on transnationalism and the Gulf states under the auspices of the British Economic and Social Research Council. when it comes to television. while adopting international professional standards and formats as part of the globalization process. Egyptian and Lebanese productions found their competitive edge abroad. 2003). see Gaëlle Le Pottier. most often directed at Gulf audiences (perhaps more eager than others to consume media products from outside their own borders) are therefore now predominantly facilitated by non-Gulf Arab media professionals. the actual content of these pan-Arab media productions and the nationality of those working in the various modern media industries remain of a predominantly non-Gulf Arab nature. They act as intermediaries between the media they represent and the agencies that need to go through them in order to book advertising space. On the other hand. 349–78. and above all those working in advertising. 5 Previous Lebanese world presidents were Samir Fares (1988) and Moustafa Assad (1992). however. ‘Géographie de la publicité au MoyenOrient: entre échelle mondiale et échelle locale’.. Both private and public players now focus their attention in the direction of achieving region-wide income and/or influence. Mondialisation et nouveaux medias dans l’espace arabe (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose.). pp. pp.). investment and professional activities. in F. transnational cultural flows. and Alain Battegay. In fact. pp. 4 For a detailed and insightful description of the history and ‘internationalization’ of these advertising networks see Leïla Vignal. On the one hand. advertising representatives operate differently from anywhere else. advertising representation. In media. in F. The Lebanese. even if mostly financed by Gulf investors. particularly in the Gulf. 43–72. can more easily than ever before export their know-how and manpower as the pan-Arab market continues to grow. and allowing for a regionalization of audiences. 379–408. we have Gulf investors who finance most pan-Arab operations and Gulf viewers who motivate the larger part of investments in pan-Arab media. through disseminating and exporting their own particular brand of cachet. ‘Le monde de la télévision satellitaire au Moyen-Orient et le rôle du Liban et des Libanais dans son évolution’. ‘La publicité au Moyen-Orient: recompositions régionales et discours professionnels’ in ibid. Mermier (ed.124 Gaëlle Le Pottier professionals and the location of operations have lost considerable relevance in the face of new possibilities and priorities. Gulf viewers and investors have therefore mostly allowed for the financing of media production and dissemination outside national state borders. music and visual production industries today. However. since they enjoy exclusive representation rights over each medium.

11. 7 Dani Richa. 16. Arabies Trends. December 2001. 16 This temporary limitation is due only to technological reasons. L’Orient–Le Jour. ‘La publicité’. compete at the regional level. Saudi-owned al-Hayat and Egyptian Sat (both through Tihama). especially in Dubai and (media content). ex-director of the Egyptian satellite network. p. 24 Smyth. Once enough viewers switch to digital technology. a means of transmission which is now saturated. Impact – BBDO. l’Université Saint Joseph and l’Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA) have developed active and respected programmes in these areas. to some degree. ‘Rise and Fall’. a newly formed group servicing its clients through separate companies providing complementary yet distinct services: Cordiant United (public relations). 12 Al Jazeera also benefited from foreign expertise inasmuch as the core of its professional staff was from the start made up of Arab professionals (mostly Lebanese. 15 These figures are only estimates and remain controversial. the largest Lebanese newspapers (al-Nahar.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 125 6 Saatchi & Saatchi in Beirut. is part of Quantum. July–August 2002. 21 Their regular Egyptian channels. for example. 10 Battegay. 14 Arab Ad. which. Most viewers today still watch satellite television on analogue (C-Band). Only public stations and the two Lebanese stations subscribed on time to transmit on the free-to-air analogue channels. Television stations almost always produce their own programmes and few films are made – almost none outside Egypt. 22 Jordan also has a few production houses. Palestinians and Sudanese). 20 Interview with Najah Abi Assi. the largest of its kind in the region with some 10. July 2001. . ‘The Rise and Fall of Lebanese Advertising’. Saatchi & Saatchi (advertising). See Arab Ad’s special issue on production houses. who had been working for the BBC Middle East station based in London. November 1999. p. the Lebanese American University. 32–6. Brand Central (corporate identity). 19 Al-Khalijia represents a large number of Saudi and pan-Arab media. 17 Interview with Sanaa Mansour. 25 For example. March 2001. Creative Director. however. but they nonetheless adequately highlight the importance of pan-Arab revenues as compared to national ones. 34. MTV (terrestrial). al-Safir). These key professionals were therefore Western trained but still of Arab nationality. if not unreliable. 18 Choueiri’s group represents LBC (satellite). pp. new and private stations will be able to participate in the sharing of real pan-Arab revenues.000 panels. Arabian Outdoor. Bahrain’s national television station and radio. spring 2001. p. a series of national and pan-Arab magazines. several Lebanese radio stations. are represented by national state-controlled institutions. 23 Interview. Interview with Antoine Choueiri. Arab Ad. This new ‘communication group’ is in fact a direct reflection of what happened to the mother company abroad. 9 Arab Ad. and Zenith-Net. Al Jazeera. the American University of Beirut. 11 Vignal. including Sharq El Awsat and at one point (and indirectly) Future Sat. spring 2001. 13 Note that production houses in the Middle East mostly produce advertisements for television. January 2000. and is very active in outdoor advertising through one of its companies. University of Exeter. Bates (advertising geared towards the building of brand loyalty). 8 Naomi Sakr. paper presented at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. January 2000. ‘Channels of Interaction: The Role of Gulf-Owned Media Firms in Globalisation’. September 2000. ‘Géographie’. See also Gareth Smyth.

especially as managers. among others. Dubai TV and Future TV’s joint venture. B. al-Arabi Investment Company (17. the state-owned television station. and Isaad Yunis. J. both media free zones seem by now quite successful. for fear that these private investors might be able to monopolize these very popular ‘cultural goods’. 30 November– 6 December 2000. Kazem al-Saher. 38 Interview with Sanaa Mansour. 34 Al-Ahram Weekly.126 Gaëlle Le Pottier 26 Other countries from the Western world or Asia also supply qualified professionals. A compromise may be reached with a long-term leasing agreement. 1998. Ibrahim El Moallem (15 per cent. George Wassouf. Policy Paper 49. ex-director of the Egyptian satellite network. the Prime Minister or other wealthy individuals active on the political scene. . 37 Although it is not officially state owned. Ziad Bahaaedin. issue 502. But given the fact that 90 per cent of advertisements are in Arabic and that quality advertising requires strong cultural insight (so that the viewers can ‘relate to the ad’ produced). Nawal Zoughbi and the 4 Cats. New Politics? From Satellite Television to the Internet in the Arab World’. 33 Ibrahim El Moallem has also laid out some ambitious plans in the publishing and distribution business and e-business for the whole region (al-Ahram Weekly. Abu Dhabi TV and MTV’s special Ramadan programme in 2001. and three smaller shareholders supposedly given a 1 per cent share in return for assuming administrative responsibilities: Ahmed Heikkey (head of EFG Hermes). 28 This even includes new channels such as al-Mehwar in Egypt and the Dubai–Future TV joint venture which is still mostly produced in Lebanon. Al Jazeera’s owner is Qatar’s Foreign Minister and it is therefore closely linked to the state. issue 502. deeming it unconstitutional. Rotana is the current producer for Asala Masri. 27 For example: the recent MBC–Future so-called merger. 39 By and large. However. each private station is financed by principal political players such as the Speaker of Parliament. December 2001. the Arab company for Sound and the Arab Company for Publishing (Ibrahim El Moallem). especially in Dubai. 29 So has ART network. DC: Washington Institute of New East Policy. ORBIT and ART’s collaboration and co-productions with LBC.5 per cent). Bibliography Alterman. apparently an important decision maker in the company). 31 AHCAP’s official shareholders: EFG Hermes (17. creative directors and copywriters. 5–11 October 2000 and issue 510. Arabic speakers still have a relative advantage. as one of the only investors who would be willing venture into this nonlucrative institution. 5–11 October 2000 and issue 510. Future TV and MTV. also a shareholder). the case of the Lebanese stations still fits into the regional pattern. 35 The number is difficult to assess since this massive purchase remains quite controversial. he is an important yet discreet player behind the scenes – a Jordanian businessman married to Isaad Yunis. In the absence of a clear state authority or identity. 30 November–6 December 2000). besides Télé Liban. Washington. 36 Lebanese stations may seem like an exception to this rule. 32 For example.5 per cent). AHCAP is sectioned into three principal companies: the Arab company for Visual Media (Alaa El Khawaga). with regard to Lebanese artists alone. Alla El Khawaga (15 per cent. 30 Although the Lebanese government welcomed this offer and probably first approached Saleh Kamel. ‘New Media. a wellknown Egyptian actress. Majda al-Roumi. the audio-visual authorities have stalled the process. Zen TV. famous Egyptian publisher of Dar El Shuruq.

30 November–6 December 1999. B. issue 502. ‘Channels of Interaction: The Role of Gulf-Owned Media Firms in Globalisation’. see nmit. A. Arabies Trends. G. ‘The Business of Culture’. K. and advisers in Lebanon and Egypt (August 2000–December 2001). Satellite Realms: Transnational Television. Sakr. paper presented at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. ‘Le monde de la télévision satellitaire au Moyen-Orient et le rôle du Liban et des Libanais dans son évolution’. Smyth. W. N. J. TBS 1 (Fall 1998). al-Ahram Weekly. Columbia University. 5–11 October 2001. J.htm. Middle Eastern Cities. 2003. ‘The Rise and Fall of Lebanese Advertising’. pp. ‘La publicité au Moyen-Orient: recompositions régionales et discours professionnels’. delivered at the Middle East Institute. G. Mondialisation et nouveaux medias dans l’espace arabe. C. agenda for image country promotion campaign (unpublished). Korsholm Neilsen and J. Essam El-Din. 28 September 1999. Le Pottier.Georgetown. Mermier (ed. working paper on New Media and Information Technology in the Middle East. pp. November 1999. TBS 2 (Spring 1999). Tauris. ‘Technology. Transnational Broadcasting Studies (TBS. London and New York: I. Armbrust. Interviews with some 150 media professionals: media owners. 2003.). pp. Mondialisation et nouveaux medias dans l’espace arabe. electronic journal) 1 (Fall 1998). art directors. ‘Transnational Media and Regionalism’. producers. in F. Miami. L. B. W. A. ‘Colonizing Popular Culture or Creating Modernity? Architectural Metaphors and Egyptian Media’. Battegay. also at www. in F. ‘The Evolution and Revolution of the Arab Satellite TV Stations Versus the Local Broadcast Media in the Arab Countries’. al-Ahram Weekly. 2002. in F. ‘The Art of Monopoly’. 379–408. N. 349–78. 43–72. pp. N. Globalization and the Middle East. 1900–1950. Mermier (ed. . 20–43. issue 510. G. July 2001.). Skovgaard-Petersen (eds). Mondialisation et nouveaux medias dans l’espace arabe. B. Alterman. 2001. 2003. Mermier (ed. Sakr.arabies. paper presented to the IAA Education Conference. 2001. ‘The Regulation of Arab Satellite Broadcasting’. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose.). Darouni. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.The emergence of a pan-Arab market in modern media industries 127 Alterman. Sakr. Media and the Next Generation in the Middle East’. Sami. Saatchi and Saatchi ‘Lebanon Country Promotion’. in H. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose. ‘Transnational Media and Social Change in the Arab World’. Vignal. University of Exeter. September 2001. J. ‘Géographie de la publicité au Moyen-Orient: entre échelle mondiale et échelle locale’.

such migrants remain marginal transnational actors. The first phase.6 Indonesians in Saudi Arabia Religious and economic connections Mathias Diederich For a long time. Mecca and Medina in the Hijaz. although today the number of Indonesian migrants in Saudi Arabia outnumber pilgrims. a small minority stayed behind. was marked by the increased migration of Indonesian economic workers to Saudi Arabia to seek employment. despite efforts by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international efforts drawing attention to the plight of workers. centred on religious learning and motivated by contacts with other Muslims in the Hijaz. Indonesian Muslims maintained strong links with their counterparts in the Islamic world. With the spread of Islam beyond . after the Second World War. stimulated by the pilgrimage. which failed to absorb excess human resources in the country itself. The second phase. continued. it is unlikely that workers will challenge structures that maintain their marginality or push for better working conditions. There is a strong tradition of exchange between the two regions. Two distinct phases of contact are discussed in this chapter. The centrality of the pilgrimage in Islam brought Indonesians1 to Arabia to perform this important religious obligation. Religious contacts before the Second World War Contacts between Arabia and South East Asia are ancient. especially Indonesian female housemaids. this second phase is a function of both the need for expatriate labour in Saudi Arabia and of Indonesia’s uneven economic development. The Indonesian connections with Saudi Arabia demonstrate the importance of the structure within which such connections take place. especially with the holy cities of Arabia. often in lowskilled jobs. While religious contacts. was characterized by the predominance of religious contacts. both threatened the stability of Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia and prompted the Dutch authorities to intervene and control the flow of both people and discourses. which lasted until the Second World War. who constitute a majority among Indonesian workers in Saudi Arabia. It is argued that the first phase generated intense transnational connections. or continued to travel between Mecca and Indonesia. While the majority of Indonesians returned to their country after the hajj. In contrast. While Indonesia benefits from migrant workers’ remittances. whose weak bargaining position in both Saudi Arabia and Indonesia prevents them from playing a leading role in transnational processes.

that some returning pilgrims participated in changing the economy and social strata in the Dutch East Indies to a considerable degree. Indonesians in the Hijaz led modest lives. their contributions to the development of Islamic science remain underestimated and even unrecognized.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 129 Arabia. especially the western region (Hijaz) to perform the annual pilgrimage. Indonesian religious scholars residing in Mecca gave themselves Arabic-sounding names. and looked up to the local religious authorities with respect. In the1880s more than 15 per cent of all pilgrims to Mecca and Medina were from the Indonesian Archipelago. Indonesian Muslims were attracted to the centres of religious learning.11 The pilgrims who stayed in Mecca created small Indonesian enclaves in the Hijaz. however. Arabs.’ It is interesting to note. Accurate figures on the presence of the mukims in Mecca are hard to come by. some of them proselytized among the local population at the same time.000 Indonesians in Mecca in the late nineteenth century. in 1930. Some Indonesians spent months and even years in Mecca attaining knowledge in fiqh ( jurisprudence) and other religious sciences. South East Asians regularly visited Arabia. especially from Hadramaut. especially to prepare the ihram (special dress for pilgrims) for their countrymen and others. the so-called mukims. but once they arrive here. The Dutch East Indies have always been of particular interest for them. Even long before Indonesia became an independent state. According to Snouck there were about 8. it seems that they lose their brains and behave like stupids in front of the sheykhs. too.10 Interestingly. characterized by the popularity of Indonesian cuisine. especially Mecca and Medina in the Hijaz. Others had small shops and worked as tailors. that were taken home by other pilgrims and sold for a very high price in the Dutch East Indies.000. which still flourishes there.4 Others financed their hajj by selling commercial goods in the Hijaz.’ The mukims of Javanese origin in the Hijaz were even described as helpless by the Dutch Consul in Jeddah:8 ‘How smart the Javanese may be in their own country. however. and married into influential local families.5 and the mukims probably benefited from these trade activities. as Vredenbregt7 points out: ‘Practically none of these Indonesian mukims in Mecca followed an important trade: there are a few small traders among them but they only sell to their fellowcountrymen. remained dependent on their connections to the Dutch East Indies.2 Indonesians in Arabia were traditionally found in Saudi Arabia. came as traders. There were mukims who manufactured objects. the (Indonesian) Vice-Consul of the Netherlands in Mecca estimated their number at only 5. they made use of knowledge about commerce and money lending gained in Mecca while at the same time benefiting from their new social status as hajji. Some Indonesians earned their living as guides for countrymen who came to Mecca as pilgrims.6 But. such as embroidered caps. A number of them. remained in the holy cities after the pilgrimage to study in the famous religious schools.9 For this purpose. they were therefore not recognized as Indonesians by later generations. However. while Arabs travelled to South East Asia to spread the faith and engage in commercial activities. Relatives of the mukims brought money when undertaking the pilgrimage.000–10. Some of their .3 Most of them.

at least until the l980s. which had until then been one of the schools favoured by Indonesians in Mecca. In order to pay back the cost of the hajj journey. Saudi Arabian and Egyptian religious institutions. eventually added on to the costs the pilgrim had to shoulder. who had become well known for his anti-colonial discourse against the British in India. Both the Shaulatiyah and Darul Ulum have strongly shaped traditional religious learning in Indonesia. some of them wealthy.12 Some of their scholarly works are still used in Thai. it was headed by the Indian scholar Rahmatullah bin Khalil al-‘Utsmani. but few people knew that they were non-Arabs from the Indonesian Archipelago. In 1934. For all these different services. they were able to procure tickets for the voyage to Jeddah.17 Even many of those slaves who had been freed could not make a living by themselves and eventually ended up in the hands of their former owners again.130 Mathias Diederich publications were held in high esteem in the Muslim world. Others were robbed on the way or upon their arrival. Some of them came from the mukim community in Mecca. there was another group of people originating from the then Dutch East Indies – pilgrims who became slaves. These shaykhs would be in contact with a Meccan shaykh and at the same time had relationships with Indonesian religious authorities. as they cooperated with the relevant shipping lines. who would recommend their services to would-be pilgrims. recommendations etc. comissions were to be paid – which.20 . Husson mentions a report on a young man who found refuge at the Consulate of the Dutch East Indies after being sold to a Javanese ‘priest’. respectively.16 They thought they could work in Saudi Arabia and pay off their debts. In addition. Some of them had insufficient funds at the very beginning of their trip. and were not able to pay for the first leg of the long journey by boat. It was founded after a dispute with the ‘ulama’ in the Shaulatiyah institute. but some eventually became heavily indebted after their arrival. Ma‘sum Aly’s al-Amthal at-tasrifiyya was still being studied at al-Azhar in Cairo.14 In addition to these scholars and small-scale merchants. According to reports of the Consulate of the Dutch East Indies in Jeddah.13 These two scholars came from East Java – Jombang and Kediri. For example. Indonesian scholars even opened their own religious school in Mecca. who took advantage of the unfavourable situation of some of their compatriots. shaykhs exploited the pilgrims and forced some of them gradually into slavery. of course. and Ihsan bin Muhammad Dahlan’s commentary on Imam Ghazali’s Minhajul Abidin was part of the postgraduate programme there.15 Indonesians came to Saudi Arabia as free men. Some Indonesians did not bring much money in the first place precisely because they were afraid of robbers. the so-called Darul Ulum. some had to work for local shaykhs.19 In the port cities of the Dutch East Indies Indonesian shaykhs played an important role in recruiting pilgrims.18 It is worth mentioning that among the latter there were also Indonesians. The Shaulatiyah itself had an interesting history: established by Indians in 1874.

similar activities took place among the Indonesian students at al-Azhar University in Cairo. siding with the Sultan against the Dutch. An early prominent example is Shaykh Yusuf Makassar. from Palembang in Sumatra. whereas in the Dutch East Indies this was not possible. an organization which was founded in 1912 to protect the rights of indigenous batik merchants and to promote Islamic teaching. An Indonesian consciousness developed among these Muslims far away from their homes in the Dutch East Indies. independence from Dutch colonial rule was often a topic for discussion. The Dutch government tried to convince Indonesian Muslims not to join the organization. that might not otherwise have reached the Dutch East Indies. He was a very productive writer between 1764 and 1788 who influenced Islamic teachings in Indonesia via his Indonesian disciples.25 ‘Abd al-Samad made it clear that he was in favour of a jihad against the Dutch.26 Woodcroft-Lee points out that returned hajjis also played a leading role in the anti-colonial wars in West Sumatra27 and Java (1825–30). He and his followers were defeated by the Dutch and Shaykh Yusuf was deported to Ceylon. According to Bruinessen. propagating the struggle for liberty among Indonesian pilgrims. He spent several decades in Saudi Arabia and then eventually left in 1670 to settle in Banten (West Java). who studied with him during their stay in Mecca. whereby ideas about independence and colonial rule found expression in distant contexts. In Mecca. A considerable number of Indonesian scholars and hajjis in Saudi Arabia turned against the rule of the Dutch in their homeland. Anti-colonial tendencies among the Indonesians in Mecca are well illustrated by the establishment of the Perkumpulan Kemerdekaan Indonesia (Association for the Liberation of Indonesia) in the town.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 131 Anti-colonial ideas and Dutch reactions Despite these exploitative activities. Javanese. Indonesians debated these matters freely. This in turn prompted Indonesian scholars in Mecca to react. Indonesians developed a Muslim identity together with an awakening of their national identity. They already used the Malay language. Both personal accounts and newspapers played a significant role.22 Some Indonesians even went back and forth spreading religious and national ideas in Dutch East India. Pilgrims carried news about events in other parts of the world. an organization needs to be mentioned here which played an important role in fostering self-consciousness among the Indonesian Muslims: the Sarikat Islam (Islamic Union).28 In addition. Sumatrans and other Indonesians met in Mecca and realized that they had a common interest. Another scholar who needs to be mentioned in this context is ‘Abd al-Samad al-Falimbani. The establishment and recognition of Sarikat Islam was supported by the Javanese .23 These activities were part of an early manifestation of transnationalism. The mukims joined in large numbers. Shaykh Yusuf was involved in a power struggle within the local elite in Banten. from South Sulawesi.21 At about the same time. which would become the official language in independent Indonesia at a later stage.24 the use of Malay was second only to Arabic in Mecca from the 1860s. such as anti-colonial activities.

as their primary concern was the exploitation of natural resources in the colony.31 They did not necessarily always adopt ideas from local Arabs. including Dutch. The wider distribution of print media. as was mentioned earlier. that Ahmad al-Khatib30 and other Indonesian scholars in Mecca did not limit themselves to anti-colonial ideas when it came to their contributions to Islamic teaching in the Dutch East Indies. discussions focused at times on opinions regarding religious rituals which differed according to the respective understandings of Islamic modernism and mysticism. who were subjects to other passions. not only in Arabic but also in Malay.’34 But the increasing spread of the modernist ideas of Muhammad ‘Abduh and his followers started to irritate the Dutch authorities even more. a Dutch scholar in the service of the Dutch East Indies government. obeyed the law and accepted conditions as determined by God. The Dutch were aware of the effect these grass-roots contacts in the Hijaz could have on the stability of their rule in Indonesia. was charged with studying the activities of the Indonesians in Mecca at the end of the nineteenth century. The latter insisted on the importance of Sarikat Islam to counter foreign.33 Federspiel interprets these early findings in the following way: ‘In his way of thinking “right thinking Muslims” were concerned with religious observance. and in some cases prevented Arabs and Indonesians resident in Saudi Arabia from entering the Dutch East Indies. These influences have deeply marked Islam in Indonesia up to the present day. but were rather inspired by other scholarly influences that were prominent in Mecca and Medina then. This made them ideal subjects in comparison with those not understanding their religion well. he felt that contact with the outside world would strengthen Sunni Muslim religious patterns and work against heterodoxy. The writings of Ahmad al-Khatib and Natanegara became known in Indonesia via returning pilgrims. the intensification of anti-colonial discourse led to a change in policy. Bruinessen emphasizes that from the seventeenth century onwards Indonesian Islamic scholarship has been shaped by Indonesians who had resided in Mecca or Medina for a while. In the early twentieth century. influence. the Dutch did not intervene too much in religious activities or education. His initial assessment was that the pilgrimage would not turn all Indonesians into religious fanatics. Initially. Christian Snouck Hurgronje. His task was to find out about the possible role of Indonesian scholars and pilgrims in the anti-colonial struggle.29 It is worth mentioning. Instead. Vredenbregt explains the different and sometimes inconsistent approaches of the Dutch hajj policy in detail. however. It was there that Indonesian Muslims acquired much of their knowledge of Indian Islam and the ideas of the Egyptian scholar Muhammad ‘Abduh. It is interesting to note that the Dutch authorities started to impose restrictions on the pilgrimage to Mecca. however. for example. imposed restrictions on the hajj.32 However. The Dutch eventually banned publications advocating the modernist ideas35 and. who both resided in Mecca at that time.132 Mathias Diederich Muhammad Muchtar bin Attarid (alias Natanegara) and the Minangkabau shaykh Ahmad al-Khatib. added to the concerns of the Dutch and other colonial powers in the area. .

. such migrants have remained marginal and isolated in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia remained the most important destination in the Gulf region for Indonesian migrants. as many of them had no experience of working overseas or developed skills. In addition. Most Indonesians who went to Saudi Arabia to work found employment in private households. The Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration was planning to send 2 million workers to Saudi Arabia within 5 years (1998–2003).Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 133 One reason for these steps was a change in Snouck’s assessment of the situation. Migration in the post-Second World War period After the Second World War. From the late 1970s onwards.36 However. mainly low-skilled labourers. This situation changed slowly after the Second World War. he wanted to ‘save them from danger’. challenging Dutch rule in Indonesia. the Dutch government did not stop Indonesian Muslims from going to Mecca altogether. too. Because of their low occupational status and low pay. Until the Second World War. Nowadays. most Indonesians who travelled to Saudi Arabia were economic migrants. he feared that ‘their impressionable minds might be adversely affected by witnessing the Turks’ humiliating treatment of such previously respected foreigners as the British and the French’. and both fostered the development of anticolonial discourse. food and shelter should be provided for by the employers. Saudi citizens could still afford to hire maids and drivers for their homes even when oil prices went down in the 1980s. The ups and downs in the pilgrimage statistics in the late colonial period38 have to be explained this way. They are unable to develop any kind of group solidarity or collective action because in the majority of cases they are confined to private households. They could speak neither English nor Arabic. Their attempts to find employment in the skilled sectors of the Saudi labour market were not successful despite substantial efforts by the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration. the Indonesian presence in Saudi Arabia was mainly a function of religious connections.000 Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia in November 1997. with little contact with other Indonesians or the wider host society.39 The workers are given fixed-term contracts. The ongoing First World War made Snouck believe that the subjects of the Dutch Indies should no longer be allowed to travel to the Hijaz: on the one hand.37 The First World War and the crisis of the world economy in the 1930s caused severe economic setbacks for the Dutch East Indies. the current monthly salary for a maid is 600 Saudi riyals. Such connections revolved around the pilgrimage and religious education. on the other. Estimates of the number of Indonesians working in Saudi Arabia differ tremendously. Another reason that they refrained from intervention was the fact that Dutch ship owners benefited from the transportation of the pilgrims. It is evident that Indonesians generally had little bargaining power in the Saudi Arabian labour market. such as maids and drivers. when Indonesia became an independent state. According to the Jakarta Post there were more than 300. The Dutch feared provoking even stronger anti-colonial feelings among them.

As most of the applicants for overseas jobs are poorly educated. let alone to organize in labour unions.134 Mathias Diederich Indonesian maids were considered suitable for work in the private sphere because they were Muslims.42 unaware of their rights and very eager to migrate. and are insufficiently protected by national law. as the Saudi Arabian police and Indonesian diplomats are not always willing or able to intervene on their behalf. The isolation of Indonesian maids in Saudi Arabian households prevents the development of transnational activities. In West and Central Java household helpers are expected to be obedient to their employers . Although Indonesian maids are valued for being Muslims. Saudi Arabians are often unhappy with Indonesians’ lack of language skills and their unfamiliarity with modern household equipment. As most of them are not allowed to go out on their own. Their poor standing is mainly caused by traces of Javanese feudalism in Indonesian society. The preparation and placement of female Indonesian workers overseas is indeed a typical case of how rampant corruption has influenced the political decisions taken by Indonesian governments since the 1970s. Throughout the last two decades at least 75 per cent of the Indonesian migrants in Saudi Arabia have been female. slow and poorly educated.41 If they do succeed they may not receive help. Indonesian drivers were also hired by Saudi Arabians. their position is extremely weak. this does not seem to lead to better wages or social integration. as their number is limited compared to other foreigners. Indonesians have a lower status than many other nationals working in Saudi Arabia. This is attributed to their work as maids. many Indonesian maids encountering problems with their employers feel powerless. The temptation for underpaid civil servants to gain additional income through bribery is extremely high. This image is still perpetuated. In contrast to much of the contact between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia before the Second World War. middlemen and corrupt civil servants. female migrant workers exceeded the number of male migrants. As a result.43 The exploitation of the TKW is also linked to public perception of the kind of work they are supposed to do overseas. Indonesian women are rarely able to contact the police or the Indonesian Consulate when problems arise.40 Given their lack of language skills and the generally poor pre-departure training. In Saudi Arabia. Lack of appropriate pre-departure training for their jobs overseas has also harmed the reputation of the Indonesian nation in general. but is rarely focused on Indonesians. any form of transnationalism is rather restricted for Indonesians in Saudi Arabia today. they easily fall victim to unscrupulous agencies. ‘female workforce’) are considered inflexible. In general. It is ironic that common religious bonds fail to have an impact on the status of female domestic workers. Housemaids have a low status in Indonesia itself. as the agencies responsible for the sending of the TKW are not able or willing to improve their pre-departure training despite numerous efforts by the Indonesian government. Local debate on foreign labour in Saudi Arabia is usually heated. Indonesian overseas workers (the most frequent Indonesian abbreviation for the migrant workers in the Middle East is TKW – tenaga kerja wanita. but in smaller numbers than maids.

45 This attitude has not improved the reputation of Indonesian citizens in Saudi Arabia. and encouraged Indonesian women to take over these vacancies. The Saudi Arabian public was surprised to find out that so many women who were supposed to be Muslims worked in Saudi Arabia without any appropriate male .44 As in Saudi Arabia. Struggling for a share in the Saudi Arabian labour market Reports on abuse of maids in Saudi Arabian households were so frequent in the 1970s and 1980s that the governments of several Asian countries. wages are traditionally very low due to the fact that maids used to be considered part of the family. Some of its highest representatives have benefited personally through direct involvement in the TKW industry. while Indonesia turned a blind eye to the risks its citizens were facing for the sake of gaining a share in the Saudi labour market. however. The Indonesian government. as it wants to ensure continued access to the Holy Places for Indonesian pilgrims. The Indonesian government continues to lack the necessary commitment to protect its workers abroad. This reflected their poor bargaining position: Indonesians had to take what was left behind by others. stopped sending maids altogether or restricted their migration. These steps were taken despite the desperate need in these countries for foreign currency earned by their cititzens abroad. and documentation on the whereabouts of the TKW was incomplete. It is obvious that poor pre-departure training and the low status of maids in Indonesia cannot be blamed on the Indonesian government alone. such as Bangladesh and India. and they are obviously not motivated to end the programme. Ill-treatment. Many Muslims in Saudi Arabia are of the opinion that a female Muslim should not travel unless she is accompanied by her husband or a mahram. as they then become illegal immigrants. But the actual decision to allow the sending of female workers as domestic helpers to Saudi Arabia is Jakarta’s responsibility.46 a close male relative who is not allowed to marry her – for example. The Indonesian Embassy and Consulate were understaffed. her son or brother. the agencies and the civil servants are confronted with an opaque system of rules and regulations which is constantly amended.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 135 and not supposed to question them in any way. making the TKW even more vulnerable to abuse. The TKW candidates. seized the opportunity. The TKW themselves are also often responsible for their plight. Indonesia has not wanted to put too much pressure on Saudi Arabia. cases of unexplained deaths and the disappearance of Indonesian citizens in Saudi Arabia have not been followed up by the relevant government agencies. Countries such as Bangladesh and India protected their workers. Some ignore the regulations. or change employers without being given official permission. rape. and were entitled to retirement in the house of their employers rather than higher remuneration. This behaviour is resented in Saudi Arabia. overstay in order to perform the pilgrimage before returning to Indonesia.

and it is considered inappropriate for employers to marry housemaids – even as second. Intermarriage between Saudi Arabians and Indonesians is rare. and are often forced to find jobs in the sex industry. Indonesian maids were not necessarily perceived as good fellow Muslims by their hosts. however. TKW usually receive two-year contracts. is emphasized and reiterated by the Saudi Arabian government for the sake of its self-legitimization. This perception is particularly striking as the discourse on Islamic unity. which is itself illegal. in itself a reflection of transnational bonds. some Indonesians do try to stay on in order to improve their economic prospects in Indonesia. Instead. Saudi Arabian society does not grant equal status to Muslims from other parts of the world. making relationships with the locals difficult. The host society seems reluctant to integrate them. Mostly. Most TKW wish to perform the hajj or ‘umrah during their stay in Saudi Arabia. they have to hide.47 The only contact most TKW have in the host country is with the family they are living with. Their insecurity is also related to the frequent reports of abuse within Saudi households. TKW do not feel part of society. third or fourth wives. Difference in culture also leads to misunderstandings between TKW and the host society. Most TKW arrive in Saudi Arabia already frightened and nervous. as they fulfilled neither their moral nor religious obligations towards women. however. including Indonesia. these attempts drive them into illegality and are not likely to improve their chances of integrating into the host society. . they are not necessarily seen as fellow Muslims of equal standing. Their situation is somehow paradoxical: they live inside the very protected homes of Saudi Arabians – they might not even be allowed to go out – but at the same time they feel. Consequently. and are obviously sometimes perceived as. They rarely succeed. as they only participate in its activities as servants. Nevertheless. complete outsiders. Although they experience life within Saudi households. Saudi Arabia is the country of the Holy Places of Islam. both the Indonesian government and public failed in several respects. but on the other hand. Islamic unity is also identified by the Saudi government as the driving force to promote Islam all over the world. as immigration laws are very strict and few foreigners are given the chance to stay on. Indonesians are more welcome than other foreigners because they are Muslims. Indonesians who choose this way to stay on therefore find themselves in the lowest stratum of Saudi Arabian society. which adds to the bitter feeling many TKW have towards the host society. On the one hand.136 Mathias Diederich company. In their view. Many Indonesians see Saudi Arabia as a place to earn money for themselves and their families at home. For Indonesians. Islam cannot bridge this gap. In reality. The host country is not a place to settle down. The host society’s relationship with TKW and pilgrims Limited interaction with the host society is one reason why Indonesians often feel insecure in Saudi Arabia.

To make matters worse. is also deeply rooted among Indonesian Muslims. It is partly due to their efforts that in 1998 the government of President Soeharto eventually came to an end. the Centre for Indonesian Migrant Workers (CIMW). But there is another trend that may estrange the two nations. and this happens when they are performing the hajj. As direct contacts with representatives of the Saudi Arabian government are hard to establish. Analysing Bethan’s observation more closely. however. It is the reputation of Indonesians in Saudi Arabia as a ‘coolie nation’ or ‘TKW nation’. the peak of their religious lives. as they have no counterparts in that country on whom they can call. the pilgrims also suffer because of it. it is almost impossible for them to support the protection of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia. In addition. the aforementioned irritations and lack of integration into the host society are not likely to give this rhetoric much credibility.49 The experiences of these more influential Indonesian pilgrims may have contributed to another image of Saudi Arabia in Indonesia: feeling insulted by their fellow Muslims.48 The limited exchanges between the pilgrims in Saudi Arabia tends to reinforce the image of Indonesians in Saudi Arabia as TKW. In the field of labour migration. developed various activities to compensate for these shortcomings. this experience must be even more galling. I conclude that the Indonesian pilgrims in question feel a deep frustration while in Saudi Arabia: they suddenly become aware of the general poor standing of Indonesians there. NGOs and labour unions are almost unknown in Saudi Arabia. these contradictions emerge during the hajj. the symbol of the unity of the entire Muslim world. many Indonesians are mesmerized by the religious image of Saudi Arabia. Indonesian Muslims resent the illtreatment of their fellow citizens by Saudi Arabians – especially when they are exposed to it personally. highlighted in the rhetoric of the Saudi Arabian government as the all-encompassing international ideal of the Muslim world. . Some Indonesians opt for special packages when they go on the pilgrimage: instead of sharing the hardships of the hajj with fellow Muslims from all over the world they stay with their travel groups in fivestar hotels and air-conditioned tents during their hajj before they go on shopping sprees in Saudi Arabia or other countries in the region. The strong renaissance of Islam in Indonesia will contribute even more to this. The notion of the ummah. The effects of this are felt not only by the TKW during their stay in Saudi Arabia. NGOs have had a difficult task. They have to cope not only with Indonesian bureaucracy and corruption but also with the interests of the agencies and middlemen. Given the high price they pay for the performance of the hajj and the prestige they expect to gain from it. Ignas Bethan found out that even well-to-do Indonesian pilgrims were mistaken for TKW by the locals – much to their disappointment.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 137 In general.50 One of the NGOs. Efforts of NGOs in the field of labour migration Indonesian NGOs have contributed substantially to the democratization of Indonesia. However. some pilgrims portray Saudi Arabia as a nation that enslaves foreign workers regardless of their religion.

Finally. Many of the candidates decide to migrate because they have virtually no other choice. the TKWs cannot count on any kind of female solidarity either – except for activists within NGOs. In addition. thus adding to the feeling of national shame and endangering the privileges of the well-to-do at the same time. which maintains good relations with various Saudi authorities. from Malaysia and Bangladesh. It has been argued that pauperization of migration usually goes hand in hand with its feminization.53 Even the critical and sometimes meticulous coverage in the press does not provoke a reaction from the government. Baharuddin Lopa. Agencies operating in the field of labour migration take advantage of their economic situation and unfavourable educational background: the applicants are often unable to question either the procedures or the high fees they are charged. we can establish that they were the frontrunners in labour migration on a larger scale to the Middle East. On the international level various activities are to be mentioned: along with similar organizations in Asia. and there has been very little support for them ever since. another difficulty is the lack of support within Indonesian society. as they emphasize the weakness of the TKW and lash out at the class differences in Indonesia. it recently managed to gain support from strong international NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. so many problems needed to be discussed in Indonesia that the situation of the TKW was marginalized. Many Indonesians identify with the TKW and feel that their national pride is hurt. so they tend to accept poor conditions in order to survive and support their families. As international labour migration is organized mainly by men. Their lack of international experience makes them dependent on whatever employment is available. As their educational background and family situation usually do not enable them to make a living in Indonesia. NGOs are easily perceived as nitpickers. the CIMW is affiliated to the Hong Kong-based Asian Migrant Centre. (The number of male migrants in organized labour migration from Indonesia to the Middle East has always been very small. for example. they start looking for other opportunities overseas. after Soeharto stepped down in 1998. who have only limited influence. the newly gained freedom of the press has not changed public interest. especially in times of nationwide economic hardship. They were in a weak position from the start. It is not surprising that it is mostly NGOs run by women and for the interests of women that advocate the cause of the TKW.138 Mathias Diederich the CIMW tried to lobby with the help of representatives of the Indonesian government. Extreme poverty in rural areas makes them susceptible to all kinds of promises by middlemen who offer their services in the area.51 The CIMW also approached the powerful Indonesian mass organization Nahdlatul Ulama. Apart from the problems in Saudi Arabia. strongly supported the cause of the TKW before he died in 2001. After transferring to . it is extremely difficult for the NGOs to work with the TKW themselves.) In the case of Indonesian women going overseas. the former Attorney General and Secretary General of the National Human Rights Commission.52 In addition. Indonesian NGOs complain that. However.

’59 The impact on bilateral relations and future development The hajj is of great importance to the middle and upper classes of Indonesian society.54 The fact that ministers and senior officials in the Indonesian Department of Manpower and Transmigration have been replaced frequently in recent years exacerbates the situation. and therefore their government has to make sure that it remains on good terms with the Saudi Arabian government. as the Saudi Arabian government might react by restricting the flow of Indonesian pilgrims to Mecca. the TKW depend on middlemen in both Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. but there can be no doubt about the low priority of this matter compared to the hajj. Once they leave their home towns they lose whatever bargaining power they had. they still lack satisfactory legal protection: the drafting of a separate law on labour migration failed despite intensive NGO lobbying. civil servants and employers decide their fate and destination. NGOs provide manuals for predeparture training and even basic language courses. They cannot even afford the bus fare back to their villages. There is a growing sense of transnational solidarity between the educated Indonesian Muslims and the rest of the Islamic world. The process of labour migration is organized by others. The Soeharto government took the first steps in this direction in the early 1990s. Recently Indonesia has experienced an obvious Islamization of public life. The hardships of .56 Comparing the situation of the pilgrims before the Second World War with that of the TKW shows that we have come full circle. and are prepared to accept poor working conditions and high fees just to ensure employment overseas. while the existing labour law leaves much to be desired. During this period desperate women are not willing to listen to warnings of NGO representatives. But all these efforts cannot bring about much if there is little support abroad and if the TKW are not addressed by qualified staff during the preparation period. They are so eager to depart that even useful advice for their overseas posting is likely to fall on deaf ears. Well-to-do Indonesian Muslims are eager to go on the pilgrimage. who deliberately make it complicated. Middlemen. including protection for housemaids in Indonesia itself. Arabic music and dress are in fashion. often kiyai 57 or hajj.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 139 Jakarta and other cities the TKW candidates are trapped. religious authorities play an important role in this context: ‘Dependence on intermediairies. According to Husson. and even when they return to their home country. Like the pilgrims. Strong advocacy by the Indonesian government on behalf of the TKW would put the interests of the pilgrims at risk.55 In addition.58 with an all-powerful religious status and an important social position. and become completely dependent on others. Arabs in general are more and more admired. It seems that Islamization of the local culture is also understood as Arabization. Labour migration from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia has affected bilateral relations to a certain degree. TKW are frequently exploited both before and after departure. illustrates the system of clientelism which bears so heavily on Indonesian society.

62 The leader of one of these mass organizations. and Indonesian migrants will remain marginal on the agenda of both government and public opinion. With the events of 11 September 2001 and the Bali bombing in 2002. The hajj is becoming more popular than ever. Indonesians of Arab descent see it as their task to purify Islam in Indonesia as it has been influenced by elements of indigenous religions.61 This sort of religious transnationalism is obviously considered highly suspicious. The Indonesian state is seen as corrupt and entirely dependent on the West and therefore unable to solve the problems of the nation. however. these events have helped to improve the standing of the Arabs. The standing of Indonesians in Saudi Arabia is not likely to improve. but holds true for the Middle East itself. Certain Indonesian alumni of Saudi Arabian universities. such as the Muhammadiyah and the Nahdlatul Ulama need to respond by identifying alternative programmes. and would instead provoke Indonesian citizens into joining the ranks of the radical Muslim groups in the country. showed his concern before the USA and its allies were about to invade Iraq in 2003. because their image will be continuously dominated by the presence of the TKW. But the events of 11 September also encouraged criticism of the present government in Indonesia: the economic situation has deteriorated since 1998. This situation is perceived as being deeply humiliating by many citizens and. but this is not widely known in Indonesia. some of them prominent figures in political parties. Indonesians are likely to be attracted by this sort of quest for an authentic form of Islam and therefore. Islamic mass organizations in Indonesia. are led by Indonesians of Arab descent. This. . consequently. According to the noted Indonesian scholar Azyumardi Azra. radical tendencies among the youth exist. where he is often seen as a courageous man – especially among the youth. Nevertheless. The Saudi Arabian government may have withdrawn Osama bin Laden’s passport. He indicated that this sort of military intervention was likely to undermine the authority of those Indonesian Muslims who were peace loving.63 These controversial views on the West and the Middle East will certainly influence public opinion in Indonesia in the future and may even play a role in the upcoming national elections in 2004. Azyumardi pointed out. and expectations of democracy have waned. frictions within Indonesian society are apparent. are said to have adopted radical ideas during their studies. For some Indonesians. such as Laskar Jihad (‘Jihad Troops’) and the Front Pembela Isla (‘Front of the Defenders of Islam’). is not a specifically Indonesian phenomenon.140 Mathias Diederich migrants and the negative experiences of Indonesian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia are likely to become less important.60 Numerous students of Islamic boarding schools hang bin Laden’s pictures on their walls and adopt his ideas about hypocrisy and moral decadence in the USA and the West in general. Other Indonesians harshly criticize the influence of Arabs in Indonesia by pointing out that local radical Islamist groups. according to Azyumardi. It is also stated that the leaders of the groups are appointed by decision makers in the Middle East. Ahmad Syafi Maarif of Muhammadiyah.

Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 141 The Indonesian middle class is ashamed of the TKW’s image abroad. however.en Volkenkunde 118 (1962): 91–154. Rather. which will probably last for some time. 3 J. on the other hand. who quotes at length from Djajadiningrat’s Herinneringen von Pangeran Aria Achmad Djajadiningrat (Amsterdam-Batavia: Kolff. 6 C. 1931). p. Politics. pp. ‘The Hadjj’. Transcending Borders: Arabs. 134 n. due to the poor economic situation in Indonesia. In Saudi Arabia. quoted in M. is the best way of reducing it. and is therefore unlikely to take a stronger interest in the TKW or to advocate their cause.65 Notes 1 In this chapter I will refer to people from the former Dutch East Indies generally as ‘Indonesian’. Witlox.. . as the Convention was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990. the improvement of the socio-economic status of the population. ‘Mempertaruhkan jiwa dan harta jemaah haji dari Hindia Belanda pada abad ke-19’. 4 Ibid. 222. in Dick Douwes and Nico Kaptein (eds). De Jonge and N. It appears that domestic workers are most vulnerable because of their isolation. 74. ‘The Haddj’. neither Saudi Arabia nor Indonesia is among those 20 countries. pp. the elimination of trafficking is unlikely to be achieved through legislation and declaration of intent. Seri INIS 30 ( Jakarta: INIS. This may lead to stricter immigration policies and more undocumented migration in the long run. at p. 8 In a letter to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs of 25 November 1886. Customs and Learning – The Moslems of the East Indian Archipelago (Leiden and London: Brill and Luzac & Co. 1936). 2002).64 The Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families came into force in 2003. 114–15. should not be overestimated. poor remuneration and lack of access to social security. ‘The Hadjj – Some of its Features and Functions in Indonesia’. In the late 1980s and 1990s the international community began to show growing concern about migrant workers and their obvious vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. p. Vredenbregt. which is exacerbated by long working hours. 9 See Vredenbregt. p. although Indonesia only became independent in 1945. 134 n. In addition. but it took 13 years for 20 countries to ratify it. translation from the Indonesian text by the author of this article. Mekka in the Latter Part of the Nineteenth Century: Daily Life. Indonesian job-seekers will continue to be interested in any job in any country overseas. particularly through the education of girls.. The United Nations appointed a working group of experts to identify obstacles to the effective implementation of human rights in 1997 and a special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in 1999. Snouck Hurgronje. unemployment among the younger generation is increasing. 238 ff. The bargaining position of the TKW is not likely to improve either. The effect of this. However desirable. 137. p. 7 Vredenbregt. Trade and Islam in Southeast Asia (Leiden: KITLV Press. Bijdragen tot de Taal-. undermining the situation of the TKW even more. Land.. Indonesia dan Haji. 5 Ibid. 2 H. 1997). 134. p. Kaptein.

1973). 20 Vredenbregt. van Bruinessen. . 127. Archipel 29 (1985): 35–52. pp. 27 Carlien Woodcroft-Lee. ‘The Haddj’. 22–26 September 2002) found out that even the officials of the Ottoman empire residing in what is today Saudi Arabia had slaves themselves. Kitab kuning. II ( Jerusalem: Magnes Press. Federspiel. ‘The Haddj’. 24 M.g. St John’s College. p. at p. ‘Worship and Work’. in A. p. e. paper presented at the Institute of Islamic Studies. 23 Deliar Noer. 1984). 19 Ibid. p. van Bruinessen. 136. H. ‘The Hadjj’. ‘The Haddj’. 18. Studia Islamica 2/2 (1995): 1–33 at p. ‘Networks of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian Ulama in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’. ‘Mencari ilmu dan pahala di tanah suci’. 67–114. ‘Sedikit yang diketahui’. Abaza. 1994). Azyumardi Azra. 25 Bruinessen. but had to be conducted inside private houses. at p. in Douwes and Kaptein (eds). at p. The Modernist Muslim Movement. Ahmad Taher (Howard M. vol. The only restriction imposed on it was that trade was no longer allowed in public places. ‘From Morocco to Merauke’. By the second decade of the twentieth century Indonesians had started to prefer al-Azhar to Saudi Arabian institutions of higher education. however. Islam and Ideology in the Emerging Indonesian State: The Persatuan Islam (PERSIS) 1923–1957 (Leiden: E. Hadji Rasul. 21 Vredenbregt. 122. 16 Vredenbregt. p. 119. pp. Husson (ibid. pp. p. p. Indonesian Students in Cairo: Islamic Education Perceptions and Exchanges (Paris: Archipel. 35–6. 134. pp. Bruinessen. p. ‘Sedikit yang diketahui’. Islam in Asia. 121–33. 27) and Shaykh Muhammad Djamil Djambek (Deliar Noer. 1995). 117. 28 Vredenbregt.. 18 Ibid. 66–70. Asian Centre. 186. ‘Worship and Work’. ‘The Haddj’. Kitab kuning: Pesantren dan tarekat (Bandung: Mizan. 13 Abdurrahman Wahid. p. Tempo. 70. pp. The Modernist Muslim Movement in Indonesia 1900–1942 (Singapore. 131–3. paper presented at a conference on Transnational Connections within the Arab Gulf and Beyond. 29 Deliar Noer. L’horizon insulindien et son importance pour une compréhension globale de l’islam. J. 42. islam en Indonésie I’. pp. p. that banning the trade in public places must have been detrimental to the interests of the slaves. p. 124. 15 Husson. 20 April 1985. ‘Mencari ilmu dan pahala di tanah suci: Orang Nusantara naik haji’. points out that the Hijaz was the only area controlled by the Ottoman empire which was allowed to continue with the slave-trade throughout the empire’s existence. 2001). p. Indonesia dan Haji. The Modernist Muslim Movement. Kuala Lumpur. 30 July 1997. 17 Husson. Oxford. London and New York: Oxford University Press. p. p. I assume. 12 Abdurrahman Wahid. As the Dutch sided with the latter group the reformists took up the challenge. Anscombe (‘An A-National Society: Eastern Arabia in the Ottoman Period’. 30 Ahmad al-Khatib’s activities can be traced back to the late nineteenth century. 22 M. as there was no more official control of the trade. 14 M. University of the Philippines (Diliman). The so-called Paderi war in West Sumatra (1821–34) was at its beginning a power struggle between Wahhabi-inspired reformists and the local elite. 118. 117) mentions that according to one report Sumatrans and Bugis shaykhs were singled out as being particularly unscrupulous. 118. ‘Worship and Work’. 31 Bruinessen. 11 Vredenbregt..142 Mathias Diederich 10 Denys Lombard. Kitab kuning. 121. 48. 31–7). 61–4. Husson. Brill. He strongly influenced Indonesian Islam through his disciples. 26 Azyumardi Azra. ‘Hadhrami Scholars in the Malay–Indonesian Diaspora: A Preliminary Study of Sayyid ‘Uthman’. Their cause was reinforced by the notion of jihad because the Dutch were identified as infidels. Johns and Raphael Israeli (eds).

See Vredenbregt. such as Solidaritas Perempuan. van Bruinessen. and contact between pilgrims of different nationalities is therefore more limited than it used to be. Indians etc. Indonesians do not generally speak English as well as other Asians. they established a labour union which had 700 members in 2001. According to a representative of the CIMW. In other countries Indonesian migrant workers have more freedom. 129. TKW from West Java are usually not well educated. 1993). they might try to leave without the necessary administrative procedures. ‘Muslims of the Dutch East Indies and the Caliphate Question’. According to recent statistics published on the website of the department (www.. 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 . the TKW issue was raised during the World Conference against Racism in Durban. M. Bruinessen. p. This plan apparently came to nothing. most of the TKW going overseas are actually Javanese. ‘The Haddj’. TKW di Timur Tengah ( Jakarta: Grafikatama Jaya. 105. It is possible that the ceaseless activities of Indonesian pressure groups have contributed to a change in the sending policy of the Indonesian government. Indonesian NGOs. have repeatedly asked the government to send only better-educated women abroad. ‘The Haddj’. in 2001. If government officials. Baharudin Lopa had also served as Minister of Justice and Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Indonesia is composed of a large number of islands.depnaker. Aside from Saudi Arabia the United Arab Emirates is an increasingly popular destination for Indonesian migrants. South Africa. In response. visited 20 May 2003) the number of migrants sent to the whole of the Middle East was a little more than 334. agencies and middlemen cooperate in an unlawful way. Federspiel. In addition. p. and risk encountering even more difficulties overseas due to their resulting weak legal position. making him an ideal advocate for the cause of the TKW. Bethan. pp. Islam and Ideology. 26. 9. It must be admitted that the large number of pilgrims who come to Saudi Arabia to perform the hajj every year has definitely changed the character of the pilgrimage: It has to be organized in a different way nowadays. Consequently. 123. at p. then TKW are hardly able to defend their rights. Krastawan. I. p. Maruli Tobing. ‘Mencari ilmu dan pahala di tanah suci’. appendix. In Indonesia also frequently called muhrim.Indonesians in Saudi Arabia 143 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 Vredenbregt. M. for example. 1990).or. 98–9. p. But of course prospective employers do not take the historical background into account when comparing the language skills of Indonesians to those of Filipinos. Saudi Arabian participants stated that Indonesian support for the Palestinian cause was a precondition for any advocacy for the cause of the TKW in Saudi Arabia (interview. Ibid. Because of their colonial history. Hartiningsih. It goes without saying that restricting labour migration in this way is not an appropriate solution because the citizens interested in migration will most probably not find an adequate job on the domestic labour market. 30 May 2003). Ibid. whereas the educational background of TKW from other areas in Indonesia varies considerably. When it does come to exchanging ideas on the treatment of TKW in Saudi Arabia the Saudi Arabian side usually attaches conditions to any discussions on the subject. Dewabrata and W. Perjalanan nasib TKI–TKW: Antara rantai kemiskinan dan nasib perempuan ( Jakarta: Gramedia. M. but Java and the Javanese have a dominant position in many respects. Studia Islamica 2/3 (1995): 115–41.000 for 1999–June 2001. but almost all migrants who go to the Middle East go to Saudi Arabia. In Hong Kong.

Paris: Archipel. International Migration 38/3 (2000): 7–30. 57 Heads of religious boarding schools. International Migration 38/6 (2000): 53–67. 60. 65 R. Skeldon. 1995). M. when Iraq had occupied Kuwait. At the time of the writing the effect of this step could not yet be assessed. Anscombe. Oxford. 62 See http://www. 53 M. St John’s College. 17 October 2002. but it seems that they also focus on their own benefit rather than the interests of the TKW. The discussion on the so-called Islam liberal (liberal Islam) in Indonesia shows this very clearly: one of its protagonists. Indonesian Students in Cairo: Islamic Education Perceptions and Exchanges. Palestinian intifada fighters and suicide bombers are also seen as heroes by some Indonesians. ‘An A-National Society: Eastern Arabia in the Ottoman Period’. . 1994. 58 Husson is referring to the person (title) in this case. Abdurrahman Wahid ‘Sedikit yang diketahui’. 59 Husson. the Indonesian government was concerned about a perceived radicalization among students after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. M. University of Lund. ‘More Room to Move but More Desperate Migrants than Ever: The Public Discourse and the Situation of NGOs in the Field of Labour Migration Three Years after Soeharto’s Resignation’. Diederich. The events of 11 September 2001 shocked most Indonesians. paper presented at the International Workshop on Labour Migration and Socio-Economic Change in South East and East Asia. 61 He-Man. a representative of the Nahdatul Ulama. Bibliography Abaza. I. 418–23. Sweden. at p.). Mattila.144 Mathias Diederich 52 Some women do have influential positions in the recruitment of migrants. T-shirts with the slogan ‘Saddam Hussein – Lion of the Gulf ’ were sold in Indonesia.’ paper presented at the International Workshop on Labour Migration and Socio-Economic Change in South East and East Asia. pp.polarhome. It started sending postgraduate students of Islamic studies to Western universities. 14–16 May 2001. Sweden. pp. 132. ‘The Politics of Regulating Overseas Migrant Labour in Indonesia. 60 During the second Gulf War. see krikil-owner@yahoo-groups. 22–26 September 2002. 64 H. Diederich.html. 55 For details see Riwanto Tirtosudarmo. paper presented at a conference on Transnational Connections within the Arab Gulf and Beyond. 56 Recently the Department of Foreign Affairs has seemed to show greater concern than the Department of Manpower and Transmigration when it comes to the TKW: it even institutionalized a directorate responsible for the protection of Indonesian citizens or krikil@yahoogroups. 14–16 May 2001. has even been threatened by a fatwah calling for his Indonesische Arbeitsmigration nach Saudi-Arabien: Hintergründe und Darstellung in der indonesischen Presse (Bonn: Holos. Cahier d’archipel 23. F. ‘WNI keturunan Arab dan Islam radikal di Indonesia’. ‘Protection of Migrants’ Human Rights: Principles and Practice’. in Cohen (ed. at p. 63 The atmosphere between the different factions is tense indeed. 22. not the pilgrimage. In the 1980s. Ulil Abshar Abdallah.nasional-f/2002-October/000075. for example. 192–5. ‘Worship and Work’. ‘Trafficking: A Perspective from Asia’. University of Lund. ‘Asian Migrant and Contract Workers in the Middle East’. The Cambridge Survey of World Migration. but for some they have also shown that Arabs are even capable of challenging the USA. in the West Javanese town of Sukabumi. 54 M. accessed 6 November 2003. especially in Java. thus to some extent imitating the ‘anti-radicalization’ policy of the Dutch East Indies described in the first part of this chapter. S. 20 April 1985. Abella. Tempo.

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A.. Johns and R. and Williams. pp. W. Dirasat al khalij wa l-jazair al-arabiya 13 ( July 1987): 51.en Volkenkunde 118 (1962): 91–154. Riwanto Tirtosudarmo. 65–77. Riza Sihbudi. S. ‘al-Tahaddur wa l hijra al-ummaliya fi l-aqtar al-arabiya al-khilajiya’. M. Jerusalem: Magnes Press. Jakarta: INIS. 15 June 1980. ‘Mempertaruhkan jiwa dan harta jemaah haji dari Hindia Belanda pada abad ke-19’. Woodcroft-Lee. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Rosihan Anwar. 1984. Saudi Arabia: The Ceaseless Quest for Security. Williams. Seri INIS 30. 32–48. Land. L. ‘Migration Intensification in the APEC Region: 1981 to 1994’. International Trade and Migration in the APEC Region. Leiden and London: Brill and Luzac & Co. in A. Indonesia dan Haji. pp. R. Snouck Hurgronje. pp. MA and London: Harvard University Press. H. paper presented at the International Workshop on Labour Migration and Socio-Economic Change in South East and East Asia. 1996. 1985. 1990. Witlox. T. Douwes and N. II.. Indonesia di Timur Tengah Masalah dan prospek. ‘Trafficking: A Perspective from Asia’. Vredenbregt. Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag. Kaptein (eds). C. 297. p. M. Die Frau in Saudi-Arabien zwischen Moderne und Tradition. Israeli (eds). 1931. S. Lloyd and L. and Krastawan. M.. in P. Panji Masyarakat. Customs and Learning – The Moslems of the East Indian Archipelago. ‘The Politics of Regulating Overseas Migrant Labour in Indonesia’. 14–16 May 2001. ‘From Morocco to Merauke’. (eds). Rod. ‘Oleh-oleh dari Arab Saudi’. Safran. Jakarta: Gramedia. International Migration 38/3 (2000): 7–30. Jakarta: Gema Insani Press. 67–114. Antara rantai kemiskinan dan nasib perempuan. ‘The Haddj – Some of its Features and Functions in Indonesia’. 40. Vagt. Skeldon. Cambridge. J. vol. C. H. Islam in Asia. Hartiningsih. Perjalanan nasib TKITKW. Tobing. . J. N. Islamkundliche Untersuchungen 163. 1997.146 Mathias Diederich Muawwad. in D. Dewabrata. J. Mekka in the Latter Part of the Nineteenth Century: Daily Life. M. Bijdragen tot de Taal-. 1992. A. 1997. Sweden. University of Lund.

Part III Beyond the Arab Gulf .


Immigrants are seen as representations of ‘cultural hybridity. the ancient Sufi networks . and operate on the margins of defined political entities such as the nation-state.3 Moving away from the images conjured up by the association of the British capital with ‘Londonistan’. ‘immigrants’. Underlying understandings of transnationalism is the assumption that ‘diaspora’. multi-positional identities. I examine Saudi–British religious connections with the objective of highlighting the unanticipated consequences of such flows. Through personal choices.7 For centuries. making transnationalism conceptually dependent on the above categories fails to account for variants of the process because such an approach is built on the assumption that transnationalism is ‘something to celebrate. ‘middlemen’.2 In this discourse. thanks to a liberal British tradition and transnational Muslim connections. who are depicted as ‘conscious and successful ordinary people’. British and European media as one of those sites where Islamic radicalism is bred.’6 Those who overemphasize the free-floating hybrid in transnational processes are usually driven by what has often been described as ‘fetishization of hybridity’ in their quest for a world free of the constraints imposed by states. the problem of current terrorism is believed to result from religious flows between countries such as Saudi Arabia and British Muslims.4 Immigrants are often defined as those who cross physical and moral boundaries. resisting state influence from below. Islamic centres and a series of interviews with a cross-section of the British Muslim population. voluntary and under no serious control by governments – for example. border-crossing by marginal “others” ’. as an expression of a subversive popular resistance from below. a journey which led to mosques. which does not lend itself to straightforward cause-and-effect analysis.7 Saudi religious transnationalism in London Madawi Al-Rasheed Writing in a prominent French daily newspaper a year after 11 September 2001. a French journalist investigated ‘terrorist networks’ in the heart of what he called ‘Londonistan’. both Arab and Asian. ‘brokers’ and ‘hybrids’ are indispensable categories. Islamic religious exchanges were spontaneous.1 London is increasingly portrayed in American. This chapter investigates Saudi religious flows in the British capital in an attempt to understand religious transnationalism as a complex process. ‘creoles’. they are believed to challenge established boundaries.5 However. economic activities and cultural orientation.

Drawing on Saudi religious transnational connections with British Muslims. they implement programmes. The small number of Saudi ‘hybrids’ and ‘creoles’ remain nationals. they are sanctioned from above. it is argued that such activities are not necessarily dependent on the presence of an overseas Saudi diaspora. cultural and religious transnationalism. Local discourse on religious transnationalism The Saudi leadership has pledged to promote Islam. support Muslim minorities and encourage the dissemination of Islamic knowledge. Their activities consolidate official policy abroad and contribute to enhancing state legitimacy inside the country. the establishment of mosques. For a long time a neglected dimension in transnational studies. temporarily residing abroad to serve the purpose of promoting official Saudi economic. Theorists of transnationalism have concentrated on free-floating cosmopolitans whose activities fall within a niche beyond state control. confirming state hegemony beyond its own frontiers. to establish direct relations with British Muslims. While those who propagate faith are driven by an Islamic obligation towards other Muslims. religion is now considered a transnational force. Rather than challenging the state from below. The overseas activities of the majority of Saudis are usually sanctioned by the state. thanks to its wealth. one finds that they are incorporated into the state legitimacy narrative.8 Islam incorporates a quest to spread its mission and an obligation towards co-believers. religious exchanges have become a systematic operation with substantial funds dedicated to their realization. Saudi Arabia draws on the services of others. This is precisely what distinguishes Saudi hybrids from others in the same category. they are used by the state to extend its political authority among Muslims as far as London. But the Saudi case demonstrates that they can actually promote state interests abroad.150 Madawi Al-Rasheed which spread across the Muslim world. Outreach programmes targeting Muslims abroad – for example. Saudi Arabia has taken the responsibility to propagate faith more seriously than have other Muslim governments. If they ever exist in large numbers. These Islamic obligations are the framework within which Saudi religious connections . Rather than representing a challenge to the state. Their personal religious agenda is appropriated by the state in the pursuit of political legitimacy at home and abroad. mainly Arab and Asian Muslims. It entails the transfer of funds and religious knowledge from Saudi Arabia to Muslims in other countries. Saudi religious transnationalism involves the establishment of connections with Muslims using institutions under state sponsorship and agents who are not necessarily Saudi nationals. which is much more limited in its boundaries than the Muslim ummah (community). both encourage a commitment to reach Muslims outside the territories of the nation-state. Muslim colleges and organizations. and the dissemination of religious education – are understood as fulfilling da ‘wah (propagation of faith) and charity (both the obligatory zakat and the voluntary sadaqah). its quest for legitimacy and its symbolic significance as the land of Islam and its holy shrines. This is considered a religious duty. Recently.

258 persons born in Saudi Arabia who are now living in Britain. As will be demonstrated later in this chapter. An ethnographic approach proves to be more beneficial in an investigation of a web of networks which both British Muslims and Saudi Arabia would prefer to remain unscrutinized. an exchange of people between those Muslim minorities and the Muslim societies in order to activate them and help them in all their affairs. A growing debate among them has led in some instances to challenging Saudi religious interpretations and political wisdom. some of which represent a direct challenge to Saudi political authority and religious hegemony among Muslims abroad. who are believed to face daily challenges to their identity. two eminent scholars. Unlike other Arab immigrants in Britain – Egyptians and Iraqis.11 While religious transnationalism is a response to local Saudi concerns. for example – Saudis do not constitute an immigrant community. Saudi Arabia has been active in reaching Muslim communities outside its political boundaries through a systematic application of the concept of da ‘wah and Islamic charity. British Muslims have contested Saudi religious outreach programmes. help them to understand their religion and help them to acquire complete freedom to manifest the rites and practices of Islam. Among Muslim minorities in the West. invoke a Qur’anic surah in which Muslims have a duty to ‘invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and exhortation and argue with them in a way that is better’. There should be. In a pamphlet entitled Muslim Minorities: Fatwa Regarding Muslims Living as Minorities. They must be good to them. is regarded by Saudi religious scholars as an important duty of Muslim governments. British statistics on immigration and asylum seekers demonstrate that Saudi physical presence is insignificant in London. therefore. the process has led to unanticipated consequences.9 With regard to Muslim minorities. the two scholars insist that Muslim governments should send to them whoever can assist them in achieving this and ask them to send people to Islamic countries to spread knowledge. the obligation to protect faith and educate Muslims. This figure must include non-Saudis. The reality of the Saudi presence in London Saudi transnational networks are not easily disclosed if one is to confine the investigation to official statistics and quantitative data. Over the last three decades. Two obvious .10 The responsibility of such an exchange lies with political leaders and religious scholars: The rulers of the Muslims everywhere as well as the scholars and the rich must expend whatever they can to assist the Muslim minorities. There are approximately 4. Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz and Shaykh Muhammad al-‘Uthaymin.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 151 are represented in local discourse.

176 5. Pakistani.152 Madawi Al-Rasheed aggregates come to mind. ethnic and national categories. Arabs in general.000 Saudi visitors. Great Britain (Arab countries only) Country of birth Algeria Egypt Libya Morocco Tunisia Iraq Jordan Lebanon Saudi Arabia Syria Total 1. including 39.151 1.2). Home Office statistics gave an estimate of 63.980 3. .390 1.200 persons) live in greater London and around 650 Saudi-born individuals live in inner London. estimated at 30.149 Source: Office of Population and Census Survey/ GROS (1993). Other Asian. whose parents have returned to the UK. The 1991 census question on ethnicity offers little clarification because it mixes racial. Black – Caribbean. the UK attracts a large number of Saudi visitors. In the census. In 2000. and Other – Other. The total of 63. volume 1.557 1.557 persons born in Saudi Arabia who indicated that their ethnicity is ‘Other – Other’ (see Table 7. Other sources indicate that the great majority of Saudis (approximately 1. small minority compared with other Arab immigrants in the capital. Black – Other. the figure includes children of the large British expatriate community in Saudi Arabia. Chinese. with the Boroughs of Westminster. Indian. Black – African. 5. First.1 Birthplaces of those classified as Other – Other in the 1991 census. the figure includes children of parents of other nationalities living in Saudi Arabia who are now resident in Britain.000 in 2002. individuals who enter the UK on temporary 3–6 month visas.000 visitors must include other categories of visitors who are Table 7. It is also self-evident that country-of-birth figures miss Saudi nationals born outside Saudi Arabia and those born in the UK.12 A cross-tabulation of ‘Other – Other’ ethnicity and country-of-birth categories gives a figure of 1. While Saudi permanent residents are an insignificant. are expected to tick the ‘Other – Other’ box. Chelsea and Kensington. an unfortunate residual ethnic category reflecting British thinking on Arab immigrants who.020 students (see Table 7.800 ordinary visitors.173 2.979 1. Racial criteria (‘White’ and ‘Black’) are combined with nationality (‘Pakistani’ and ‘Bangladeshi’).883 611 7. Bangladeshi. including Saudis. and Ealing attracting most of the inner-London residents. especially in the 1980s. remained socially marginal and statistically invisible.230 businessmen and 2. table 5.1). there were 10 ethnic categories: White. Second. despite their increasing numbers.

the impact that Saudi Arabia had in London since the 1970s is not in any way proportionate to the number of Saudi residents or sojourners.400 40. mediate Saudi influence in London.700 64.020 Total 56.830 2.300 64.500 42. mainly Arabs and Asian Muslims.520 540 1.840 4. Their employment in Saudi overseas networks is a function of domestic concern requiring Saudi Arabia to extend its reach beyond its own population.230 Students 1.500 39. Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 1994–1999. Non-Saudis.900 58.210 2. consisting of a small number of individuals who are posted by their own government or Saudi employers to work in London.700 5. This dependency is paramount especially among those who do not have easily transferable skills to enter the wider British economy. teachers and Arabic language instructors. Saudi visitors exceeded all visitors from other Arab countries.020 1.000 Source: Home Office/Government Statistical Service.100 42. where a ‘Beirut-on-Thames’ has evolved.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 153 Table 7. education or medical care. They tend to operate within the limited immigrant economic/religious niche.800 39.540 2.930 4. Saudis in London are better considered as transient settlers or sojourners. It is ironic that such middlemen are both the targets and the means of religious transnational flows in the absence of a Saudi critical mass abroad. Saudi-funded religious institutions employ Egyptian and Pakistani directors.890 5. not listed in the statistics.800 Business 4. preachers.000 63. They tend to congregate in West London. often the owners of large multinational financial institutions with offices in London and other European and North American cities.13 The inhabitants of this enclave include members of a cosmopolitan Arab elite recently referred to as ‘the Shaykhs of Knightsbridge’.2 Saudis entering the UK for short visits 1994–2000 Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Ordinary 38. Palestinian and Lebanese immigrants negotiate Saudi economic and media interests. Both Arab and Muslim middlemen play a crucial role in extending Saudi legitimacy beyond its frontiers. Saudi Arabia exerts tremendous influence as a result of financial resources and religious symbolism rather than mass density.14 Other Saudi sojourners come for short visits seeking pleasure. They include those with short-term work contracts and those who choose to come to London to gain work experience with the intention of returning to Saudi Arabia.230 5.200 58. They also include members of the wealthy elite. Such groups are dependent on Saudi employment. While Iraqi. Egyptians and Pakistanis promote Saudi religious transnationalism in the British capital.100 38. .900 63. However.830 4.

517. is one of the sources highlighting Saudi spending and donations worldwide. culture. the King Faysal Foundation and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. Asian Islam tends to draw on the orthodox Deobandi and Sufi Berlewi traditions. Saudi official publications highlight sums donated for prestigious and highly visible projects – for example. both common in the Indian subcontinent.18 Saudi Arabia contributed 90 per cent of the funds. which people are reluctant to disclose. or simply undermined its magnitude. Defend Islamic causes in accordance with the interests and aspirations of Muslims and solve their problems. Indians. In 1998.15 Other estimates give a figure of 1. Refute false allegations against Islam and repel pernicious trends and concepts. British Muslims are estimated at 1 million. Edinburgh.154 Madawi Al-Rasheed The ‘Saudization’ of British Islam The face of British Islam is highly Asian. Donations for less prestigious organizations tend to be covert. Drawing on the results of the 1991 census. coming from the government of Saudi Arabia’. most. the same journal reported that ‘the Muslim World League has so far spent over six billion Saudi Riyals in its endeavours to extend services to Islam and Muslims.17 Individual donations from princes and charitable Saudi non-governmental organizations are channelled to British Muslims as gifts for mosques and cultural and educational centres. is an important institution through which Saudi government funds are generally distributed among British Muslims. if not all. In 1999. an inter-state Muslim organization. South East Asians. Arabs and Africans.’ The Muslim World League Journal. Arabs being a fringe minority within a minority. as they pass through personal networks and connections. Occasionally members of the British Muslim . British Muslims themselves are reluctant to disclose Saudi funds as they attempt to draw the attention of local authorities to their needs as religious communities. the building of mosques in London. the cover story of this journal reported that ‘Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul Aziz opened the new £3. with very small pockets of Shi‘a Muslims.5 million King Fahd Mosque in the heart of Scottish capital Edinburgh on Friday 31 July 1998’.000.19 Other organizations disseminate Saudi funds – for example. a monthly English and Arabic publication of the Muslim World League. Pakistanis. The Muslim World League (established in 1962). the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Leicester and Birmingham. the amount of funds transferred through these means remains difficult to estimate. a figure of 2 million Muslims was often quoted as realistic.20 Some research highlights British Muslims’ selfreliance and their ability to raise funds for religious and language education among members of the community. Any public acknowledgement of outside funding does also open up debates about loyalty and commitment to the host society. Provide assistance in the fields of education. which includes Bangladeshis. Literature on British Muslims has either ignored the issue of Saudi funding. Its objectives are set out in its mission statement: ‘To explain and disseminate Islamic culture and teachings. exaggerated it. part of a wider concern with Muslim issues in general. However.16 In 2002. social welfare health care etc.

Only when he became independent of Saudi funding was he ready to discuss Saudi control over British Islam and the funds dedicated to the purpose.24 Saudi interest in British Muslims started in the 1970s and was initially maintained by Pakistanis and Egyptians. Some religious organizations look glamorous on paper.000 mosques in Britain. Iran adopted a hostile stance towards Saudi Arabia and endeavoured to use religious rhetoric to undermine Saudi legitimacy and even sovereignty over the two holy mosques. the rise in the number of mosques in Britain was related to the Saudi oil boom of the early 1970s. is revealing. only a small number of Saudis are issued with such permits. political or personal reasons. when Saudi Arabia openly sided with Iraq. which started during . it is clear that in Britain the number of annual mosque registrations grew suddenly between threeand fourfold after 1974. They work as directors. The 1970s religious initiatives of mosque and institution building in London. Substantial numbers of such graduates are sent abroad as du‘at (missionaries). whereas in reality they are run from private homes serving as ‘headquarters’. and tend to be seconded from Saudi institutions and universities. the conflict intensified with the outbreak of the Iran–Iraq War (1980). It is estimated that there are more than 4. there are approximately 1.25 In the 1980s a key event outside both Britain and Saudi Arabia accelerated Saudi interest in religious transnationalism – the Iranian Revolution. While the battle was heated in the Gulf for eight years. colleges and organizations in the British capital. In addition to doctrinal differences between Shi‘a Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.21 According to several estimates. Shaykh Zaki Badawi. However. According to British government statistics on work permits. British Muslims have established cultural organizations funded by local communities and gifts from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia perceived Iran under the rule of the Ayatollahs as a real rival with similar desires to win over British Muslims.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 155 community disclose sources of funding when ‘things go wrong’ – for example. Notwithstanding the difficulty in estimating Saudi funding. competition and rivalry between the two countries increased Saudi Arabia’s determination to establish itself as the guardian of Muslim interest worldwide.000 Muslim organizations in Britain. 20 work permits were issued annually to Saudi citizens. among other Arab countries.23 The sheer number of these is a function of the minimal British legal requirements for setting up such organizations. mostly concerned with welfare. since the 1980s more Saudis are occupying key posts in mosques and other religious centres due to the lack of indigenous specialists. an Egyptian. often for ideological.22 In addition to mosques. Saudi graduates of the five religious universities are not easily absorbed into the local religious economy. Arabic language instructors and religious educators in the various Saudisponsored schools. when they fall out with Saudi sponsors. Many hold ‘diplomatic status’ which makes them invisible in British labour-force surveys and Department of Employment statistics. mosque imams. While the extent of Saudi funding remains a matter of speculation. which had resulted in the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979. The story of the principal of the Islamic College. Between 1994 and 1999.

perhaps for lack of alternative options. thanks to the efforts of Indian Muslims. organizations and Islamic colleges. Unlike other Saudi institutions in London – for example. as well as financing charitable foundations and Islamic relief operations aimed at alleviating the plight of the Afghan refugees. Such copies of the Qur’an are produced in the King Fahd Holy Qur’an Printing Complex in Medina. It includes several mosques. King Fahd ibn Abd al-Aziz to British Muslims’. Common political goals between Britain and Saudi Arabia meant that Saudi emissaries to British Muslims were tolerated. King Fahd Academy. Saudi Arabia was a direct target of this rhetoric. an imposing building with annexes in one of London’s prime locations. Prime Minister Winston Churchill .156 Madawi Al-Rasheed King Faysal’s reign. Stacks of unopened boxes line the inside wall of the entrance hall. established in 1985. A second pile of boxes full of copies of the Qur’an in English. The printing house has printed more that 100 million copies of the Qur’an in eight major languages. began to be consolidated in the 1980s. it did not fully materialize until the Second World War when Britain felt it needed to make favourable impressions on the Muslim world. and now Iran has emerged as an active agent. the defeat of the occupying Soviet army in Afghanistan. They were given clearance to enter the UK and an almost free hand to preach the call for jihad. Competition between the two countries over religious interpretation and influence among British Muslims intensified. part of the Islamic Cultural Centre. which dedicated vast sums to aid the military operations. Saudi sponsorship of religious institutions in London Saudi sponsorship of religious institutions in London is vast. They are distributed free of charge to pilgrims as well as in mosques throughout the world. This objective was also on the agenda of Saudi Arabia. the Islamic Cultural Centre and al-Muntada al-Islami. While the project of establishing a grand central mosque in London started early in the twentieth century. which was initially conceived as an educational centre for children of Saudi diplomats and other Arabs – these two organizations are open to all Muslims in the British capital. a gift from the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques. two highly visible projects are discussed here. A second event accelerating Saudi religious transnationalism was the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and the beginning of the Islamic jihad movement against the occupiers. in the process recruiting young British Muslims for the war in Afghanistan. Turkish. The policy favoured training and financing various groups to pursue an ultimate goal.26 Visitors to the London mosque and the centre have no doubt that they are in a religious institution with close financial ties to Saudi Arabia. British foreign policies in the 1980s and early 1990s promoted and supported Afghan military resistance based on Islamic ideology. determined to export not only its revolution but also its political opposition to Muslim leaders allied with the West. Any account of Saudi religious connections must start with the famous Regent’s Park Mosque. However. Bengali and several other languages lines the walls in the mosque entrance. Boxes are labelled ‘Copy of the Holy Qur’an in Urdu.

000 for the purchase of a site in 1940. To inaugurate the take-over. MPs referred to them as ‘distinguished Muslims’.27 It paid the salaries of imams. and an Indian Muslim scholar. Abdullah Yusuf Ali. directors and preachers. in an article . which in 1977 cost nearly £6 million. the Regent’s Park Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre became Saudi institutions in all but name.’30 Reading the various publications of the centre. methodology. if one follows the regular weekly Friday sermon in both Arabic and English. and moral distinction’. In 1944 Regent’s Lodge was founded as London’s mosque and the property was transferred to a mosque committee. the Palestinian director of al-Muntada. Muhammad Najjar. insists that the centre is ‘an independent organization.2 million as a trust to cover maintenance and administration.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 157 approved the allocation of £100. However. thus terminating the directorship of previous Indian and Pakistani Muslims. one has the impression of a strong association with Saudi religious interpretations. with a prayer hall. For example. arrived in London as the new director. lecture theatre. Hasan Nashat Pasha. bookshop. The Egyptian government ‘shouldered the financial responsibility of running Regent’s Lodge as a mosque and a cultural centre for almost twenty five years’. a listed charity. He referred to ‘demonstrations’ and ‘people who use the mosque to attack Arab governments. al-Muntada al-Islami. In 2000 a Saudi. The centre’s mission statement describes it as ‘an independent Islamic organisation of ahl al-sunnah wa al-jamaah that focuses on da ‘wah (propagation of Islamic teachings through missionary activities). In parliamentary discussions. school (150 mainly South Asian pupils in 2000). was director.28 Al-Majid was evasive when asked to give examples of ‘things that the Saudis do not approve of ’. education and spreading awareness amongst Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK’. in Parson’s Green. including Saudi Arabia’. consisting of three Arab notables. In 1978 Dr Zaki Badawi. In 1986 Saudi Arabia established a second centre. south-west London. Saudi Arabia contributed £2 million and King Khalid donated £1. While substantial finances came from Saudi Arabia. He dismissed any suggestion that Saudi Arabia controls the centre: ‘Saudi support does not mean that the Saudis have political interest. offices and guest rooms. Sometimes things happen at the centre that the Saudis do not approve of ’. We do not depend financially on any country. Saudi Arabia initiated a plan to rebuild the mosque. seconded from King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz University. The British parliament did not regard these notables as representatives of their governments. the human resources remained Egyptian. The organization claims to be ‘a leading centre for the propagation of the teachings of al-salaf al-salih (our righteous predecessors) and a reliable source of guidance for all Muslims in Britain on matters of Islamic law. there is no doubt that criticism of Saudi Arabia on political and religious grounds is never a feature of this important Muslim event.29 Like the Saudi director of the Islamic Cultural Centre. With the increase in Saudi oil revenues in the 1970s. Hafiz Wahba and Rauf Chadirji. Al-Muntada seems to be a smaller and humbler version of the Islamic Cultural Centre in Regent’s Park. gymnasium. We try to stay away from links from particular countries. Hamad al-Majid.

33 The banning of participation in the millennium celebrations draws heavily on the opinion of the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta and the fatwah of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Sudays. 4.It is prohibited to imitate the non-believers. the imam of al-Furqan Mosque in Mecca. 6.Celebrating the millennium makes Islam appear as similar to other false religions.34 While the Centre is a Sunni institution. a benevolent man with a heart full of emaan (faith) and mercy.’31 Ibn Taymiyyah’s theology was the basis of Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s eighteenth-century reform movement. 7. It urged Muslims to shun the celebrations because 1.There is no Islamic evidence that those dates (of the Millennium) have any precedence over other days. . but a close examination of publications and religious opinions indicate that this is another institution in London with intimate theological and financial links to Saudi Arabia. This book is a must-read for all of those involved in Dawah. .Congratulating each other or the non-believers is unlawful. copies of which are distributed by al-Muntada. al-Muntada’s director is keen to stress the Centre’s independence. Before the millennium celebrations in December 2000.Celebrating with the non-believers is a sin. a trespassing of the borders of Allah. the most eloquent and truthful . 5.32 The Committee gave nine reasons to ‘make Muslims aware of the misguidance deliberately condoned by the People of the Book’. 8. 2. Both the Islamic Cultural Centre and al-Muntada al-Islami disseminate religious knowledge. . and giving days off as a vacation during the period of this event’.Jews’ and Christians’ theories about the millennium are against the Islamic true revelation. and are merely an illusion. one subscriber to al-Muntada’s magazine asked for ‘an Islamic opinion regarding celebrating this occasion. its publications indicate an obvious association with Saudi religious interpretations within the mainstream Sunni tradition. In Saudi Arabia the Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta (Riyadh) is in control of religious interpretations. As mentioned earlier. A closer examination of the fatwah (religious decree) section of al-Muntada’s magazine also points to an intimate connection with Saudi religious interpretations. exchanging cards with the “unbelievers”. by medieval Muslim scholar Ahmad Abd al-Halim ibn Taymiyyah. And finally 9.Muslims should commit themselves to the Muslim calendar.It is unlawful to advertise the event electronically and in print media. a dignified scholar. the reviewer describes this Islamic personality as ‘a figure in the Islamic heritage. which lies at the heart of Islamic interpretations in Saudi Arabia.158 Madawi Al-Rasheed praising the translation and publication of Letters from Prison.Imitating the non-believers in the exterior behaviour leads to some kind of love and support to them in the interior. 3. produced either by Saudi scholars or others who endorse their interpretations.

’35 In the aftermath of Khomeini’s fatwah. When immigrants started bringing their families to Britain. the initial gratitude towards Saudi funding gave way to questioning the authenticity. Saudi funds. all trustees of the centre. In the opinion of a British Muslim. deep gratitude for Saudi funding which enabled them to preserve their faith and its rituals characterized their attitude towards the Saudi religious global reach. on charges of heretical crimes against the House of Islam. which resulted in an agreement to campaign peacefully against Rushdie’s book. with the politicization of religious identity among Muslims in Britain and elsewhere in the world. It is only after questioning of the Saudi position during the crisis of 1988–1989 in the British Muslim media that Shaykh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz. the director of the Islamic Cultural Centre. a Saudi. until then regarded as the custodian of Islam and Muslim interests.36 . politically and economically marginalized in British society. First. their main concern was to preserve their Islamic identity and allow their children to retain their faith and rituals. especially among young Muslims. What astonished the majority of British Muslims was the fact that the death fatwah was not issued from Saudi Arabia. Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia urged that Rushdie be tried in absentia. Maghram al-Ghamdi. the meeting called rather weakly for a state ban of The Satanic Verses. in the 1980s. together with local-authority sources.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 159 Debating Saudi religious transnationalism In the 1970s most British Muslims associated Saudi Arabia with authentic Islam. religious credentials and political wisdom of Saudi Arabia. A series of events played a crucial role in the shift towards critical evaluation of Saudi religious global outreach among British Muslims. who so far had been socially. At a time when Islam was no more than a set of rituals for the majority of early Asian Muslim immigrants. Their activism during the crisis also increased the visibility of such communities in British public discourse. The country’s popularity became inversely proportional to the level of finance it undertook after that time. mosques and educational centres. were channelled towards achieving such objectives in the context of establishing immigrant organizations. chaired a meeting of Arab ambassadors. under Islamic law in a Muslim country. In the words of a British Muslim. The death fatwah of 1988 against Salman Rushdie by Ayatollah Khomeini did not fall on deaf ears among British Muslims. the Rushdie affair dominated public debate among Muslims in Britain in the 1980s. Saudi religious knowledge could not be dissociated from Saudi political decisions. Saudi global reach has become a contested issue among British Muslims in recent years. However. but from Iran. The Rushdie affair was a catalyst for the politicization of religious identity. whose first demonstrations against Rushdie’s book in Bradford on 11 December 1988 and 14 January 1989 drew attention to scattered communities of Asian immigrants. Bradford Muslims played a leading role in stirring the debate. ‘What had the Saudis done? Muslims openly began to question whether the ruling Saudi dynasty was worthy to be called the guardians of the two holy cities.

Siddiqi had declared that ‘had Saudi diplomat. In the 1990s official Saudi transnational religious networks in London were increasingly seen by British Muslims as an attempt to divert attention from the country’s close alliance with the West and the USA. Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador from Britain and threatened economic sanctions. Some British Muslims welcomed the Iranian position at the expense of the Saudi approach. ironically still receiving Saudi funds for the maintenance of their religious centres in Britain. for the Saudis. Saudi Arabia lost the moral high ground in the eyes of British Muslims.000 foreign troops in Saudi Arabia to liberate Kuwait did little to change images of Saudi Arabia as a close ally of the West.37 The organization’s resolution to ban the book and boycott all Penguin publications unless the offending book was immediately withdrawn had little effect. For example. In 1990 the controversial Director of the Muslim Parliament (established in 1992).40 Saudi efforts to Saudize British Islam seem to have had their first setback with the Rushdie affair. to the detriment of Muslim causes. which contained contradictory aspirations. Sections of the Pakistani Muslim community in Manchester openly declared admiration of . The Saudi ban is. even imports of sacred literature (like the Koran) are prohibited if printed outside the Saudi Kingdom. A British Muslim concluded: The reputation of their family is.39 In previous speeches and publications.160 Madawi Al-Rasheed According to many Muslims in Britain. The organization is described as ‘essentially a club of pro-Western Islamic countries’. including those in Britain. British Muslims compared Saudi reactions to the showing of the film Death of a Princess on British television with the ‘mild reaction’ to the publication of The Satanic Verses. gentle and undemonstrative response. In the first incident. he envisaged an autonomous British Muslim community with a ‘special relationship with the Islamic state of Iran’. Maghram al-Ghamdi [Saudi Director of Islamic Cultural Centre] been leading an effective campaign of mobilising Muslim opinion in Britain against Salman Rushdie. For the Saudis routinely ban books. published a Muslim Manifesto. exposed Saudi Arabia’s legal restrictions on women. Dr Kalim Siddiqi. hollow. The film. . the Jeddah-based Organization of the Islamic Conference (established in 1969) agreed reluctantly to put the issue on its agenda. . The second event fuelling the debate on Saudi religious transnationalism among British Muslims was the Gulf War of 1990–1. Saudi Arabia’s overt resort to American and European military assistance infuriated not only sections of its own population but also some Muslims. more worthy of protection than the reputation of the Prophet Muhammad. The arrival of almost 500. the British government would have declared him persona non grata (an undesirable person) and expelled him’. described as a conspicuously slow. in real terms. documenting the elopement of a Saudi princess with a commoner and her later punishment. .38 The different approaches of Iran and Saudi Arabia during the Rushdie affair should be understood in the context of the rivalry between the two countries over Islamic legitimacy and interpretation.

The debate on Saudi religious transnationalism entered a new phase with the ‘war on terrorism’ campaign in 2001–2. harassment and imprisonment in Saudi Arabia. Saudi exiles further exposed contradictions in Saudi politics. regarded as the desecrators of saints’ shrines throughout Arabia. Saudi dissidents Muhammad al-Masari and Saad al-Faqih established the Committee for Defence of Legitimate Rights in Saudi Arabia in the British capital. the Gulf War led to the crystallization of a Saudi Islamist opposition whose outspoken members took refuge in London after being subjected to interrogation. A sympathetic Arab and Asian Muslim constituency facilitated the establishment of the two Saudi exiles in the British capital. supporters of Hizb al-Tahrir. had been a medical student in London in the 1970s. a leading British Muslim publication. to the detriment of the country’s standing among British Muslims. the director of CDLR. It would have been difficult to launch an opposition campaign without the hospitality and support of sections of the British Muslim community. among others. including that of the prophet himself ’. They considered London an attractive exile destination. Some members of the British Muslim community in London welcomed the exiled Saudi dissidents. It was obvious that in the early 1990s their demonstrations in front of the gates of the Saudi Embassy in West London attracted non-Saudis.42 During this period. were arrested in London. In 1994. In October 2001. several British Muslims suspected of links with al-Qaeda. Saad al-Faqih. More importantly.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 161 Saddam Hussein and condemned Saudi Arabia for inviting foreign troops to the land of Islam. Luton. Leicester and other British cities. Q News. Through their opposition campaign in the early 1990s. which guaranteed wide publicity. London was attractive because it hosted a wide range of Muslim opposition groups – for example. the events of 11 September 2001 represented a further blow to Saudi credibility among British Muslims.41 In Saudi Arabia. The London Islamist infrastructure proved to be advantageous for the newly arriving Saudi dissidents as they all rejected Saudi decisions during the Gulf War. Palestinian Hamas and the Algerian Armed Islamic Group. sympathized with the Saudi exiles who began to build networks with other Islamist groups. he had cultivated links with British Muslims. given its robust media. More recently. the majority of whom were young Asian and black Muslims. Birmingham. The Saudi image deteriorated after 19 Arab hijackers (15 of them Saudis) crashed two aeroplanes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and a third into the Pentagon in Washington. Their press conferences (reported by the mainstream British press). Tipton. Arab Islamist exiles who assumed leadership positions in several fringe London mosques and their followers. In the months that followed the attacks. Osama bin Laden’s idea of an Islamic international brigade. mainly Arab and Asian Muslims who sympathized with their message. This stemmed from ‘continuous opposition to the Wahhabi movement and its Saudi rulers. took an overtly hostile stand . demonstrations near the Saudi embassy and regular appearance on British television exposed Saudi rhetoric and undermined the country’s credibility.

now felt exposed.43 In general. One of the main feature of this new discourse distinguishes between Asian and Arab Islam. Blaming Arab Muslims for brainwashing. Pakistani.45 As Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network is increasingly being described as a transnational web of Muslim terrorists with cells in more than 60 countries. who was among the detainees in Cuba. Their loyalty to Britain was questioned. Active citizenship has to be encouraged. The Ikhwan seem to be back .162 Madawi Al-Rasheed towards Saudi Arabia: Islam leads some further astray. After decades of emphasizing a kind of Muslim solidarity cutting across ethnicity and nationality in the pursuit of both the ideal of the Muslim ummah (community) and recognition in British society as a religious group. radicalizing and leading . who consider the Shia and the Sufis to be unbelievers. Almost all families of those arrested or detained in Afghanistan and Cuba described their young sons as having been ‘brainwashed’ by Arab preachers and radicals. British Muslims are developing a new discourse. including blacks and converts. described her son as ‘brainwashed’. Bangladeshi and Indian origin are beginning to distance themselves from so-called Arab Islam. whose main champion so far is Saudi Arabia. The mother of 22-year-old Feroz Abassi from south London. A new category. increasingly seen as radical and intolerant of religious diversity.44 The Muslim Council of Britain described British detainees as ‘street kids who have been manipulated by others’. especially after several British citizens of Pakistani origin were arrested in Afghanistan following the defeat of the Taliban regime. ‘European Muslims should be only Muslims instead of forever remaining North African. . the latter is understood to be predominantly Saudi. after the September attacks. According to an advocate of this trend. The arrest of several Egyptians and Algerians (for example Zacharia Moussawi. or Turkish Muslims. and a European Islamic culture needs to be created. A wide range of Muslims. a cleric in Finsbury Park Mosque. Wahhabism itself is currently bitterly divided between royalists and Kharijii tendencies . new classifications are assuming hegemonic status among diaspora Muslim communities. and later an African by the name of Abdullah al-Faysal. Djamel Beghal and Yasir al-Sirri) in both the USA and London revealed that such persons have come under the influence of London-based Arab preachers. . Ibn Saud had no idea that his citizens might become international terrorists when he established his state. for example Abu Qatada. Also. is also gathering credibility. She claimed he fell under the influence of Abu Hamza al-Masri. into the wilder wilderness of Wahhabism as preached by the fierce zealots of Najd. with a rigid theology unsuitable for Muslim minorities living in the West. British Muslims felt vulnerable. the detention of British Muslims in both Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba further contributed to the vulnerability of the British Muslim community and inflamed the debate regarding its loyalty to Britain. who was arrested in 1999 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and released without charge.’46 Supporters of this new identity argue that Saudi religious transnationalism undermines the development of a tolerant European Islam. . British Muslims of Pakistani. . ‘European Muslims’. Abu Hamza.

like those religious networks of Saudi Arabia. Calls for ‘rooting out undesirable outside influences’ became numerous in the aftermath of 11 September. which has been played down by all parties involved for obvious reasons. new legislation indicates a change of perception and policy. the same restrictions will affect its own ability to reach Muslims in Britain. Substantial funds may be required to cement the relationship. Historically. without a serious assessment of the economic and social conditions that make these young people susceptible to radical preaching.47 The future of Saudi religious transnationalism will depend on British policies – for example. Britain has tolerated foreign opposition groups using its soil to launch aggressive political campaigns against their own governments. where they had been guaranteed a platform which in the 1990s Saudi Arabia struggled to dismantle without obvious success. After 11 September. In particular. the . The media play an important role in enforcing these perceptions among both Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain. expediency and opportunism will dictate the treatment of a whole range of dissidents. Economist and former editor of Inquiry Magazine Iqbal Asaria. especially when perceived to be instigated by foreign governments. Given the intimate association between 11 September and Saudi Arabia. their agents in Britain or asylum seekers. we get nothing. but given the current economic situation in the country itself. It remains to be seen whether the country will regain its credibility among British Muslims. it remains to be seen whether political interests. apart from the annual pilgrimage. The British Anti-terrorism Acts of 2000 and 2001 reflect growing intolerance of activities broadly defined within the parameters of terrorism. However. This also applies to how Britain welcomes religious transnational connections. especially those initiated by Muslim governments. opposition groups and others who have made Britain a temporary home. tolerance of or restrictions on Islamist politics in general. In the Saudi case. And now the oil money is running out too. Why? Because from the Arab heartland at the moment. Conclusion Saudi discourse emphasizes that the propagation of faith among Muslim minorities is a religious duty to be undertaken by government. both products of British interests at home and abroad. Saudi or otherwise. a Ugandan Asian Muslim. Saudi Arabia will rejoice over the tightening of opportunities for Islamic dissidents – especially in Britain. official Saudi outreach programmes and charitable donations might come under greater scrutiny by the recipients and their host society. While new laws have already been put in place to fight terrorism. extreme Islamic interpretations are increasingly seen as responsible for the radicalization of young British Muslims. declared: I would go further and say that the more pluralistic practice of Islam in parts of Africa and Asia is going to take over from Arab Islam as the driving force of the religion in the next few decades.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 163 British Muslims astray has become common. this is not self-evident.

html 3 I am grateful to Christa Salamandra for research assistance and for conducting interviews in It seems that as transnational processes gather momentum. 21 January 2000: see http://www.larochepub. serving mainly to consolidate Saudi legitimacy in three concentric circles – one domestic. 73. global reach has been dependent on other diasporas (mainly Muslims and Arabs) for the promotion of religious transnational connections. terror_memo_2703. Religion and Global Order (Cardiff: University of Wales Press. they escape the control of those who initiate them. Saudi transnational connections in London demonstrate the shortcomings of approaches emphasizing the importance of diaspora communities in establishing overseas networks beyond the territorial nation-state. Executive Intelligence Review. 66–99. in M. pp. Esposito and M. See also ‘Put Britain on the List of States Sponsoring Terrorism’.asp. but Saudi Arabia does. In the Saudi/British case. pp. Media and US Interests in the Middle East. Watson (eds).nationalreview. It is ironic that the Saudi reputation has been inversely proportional to the funds deployed. Smith and L. Le Monde. 10 September 2001. ‘The Locations of Transnationalism’.com/lar/2000. 7 M. policies and stature in the Muslim world. Guarnizo and M. Epic Encounters: Culture. ‘Au coeur du Londistan’. promotion and maintenance of transnational connections. both factors encourage a commitment to religious transnationalism. . McAlister. It is unique in the Islamic world because of its sovereignty over territories considered the heritage of all Muslims and because of its wealth. The process has set in motion strong controversies relating not only to the legitimacy of Saudi religious interpretations but also Saudi political decisions. p.164 Madawi Al-Rasheed quest of the Saudi leadership for legitimacy among Muslims abroad is achieved under the umbrella of religious duty. this study has demonstrated that it is an active agent in the process. 6 Ibid. at p. 2 A. 8 J. 1945–2000 (Berkeley: University of California Press. they represent a direct challenge to Saudi authority. 5 Ibid. The Saudi case draws attention to the irrelevance of a large overseas population for the creation. 3. 4 L. Piscatori. ‘The End of an Alliance: It’s Time to Tell the House of Saud Goodbye’. National Review 54/20 (2002). These debates remain a product of the specific local context of British Muslims. Guarnizo (eds). at p. one Arab and one Islamic. Alexiev. Langellier. While Saudi Arabia is not normally associated with transnationalism. 2001). 2000). This chapter demonstrates that such connections can lead to outcomes contrary to the interests of those involved in sponsoring them. Other Muslim countries do not feel the urge to be seen as champions of Islam and Muslim causes. 274. P. see http://www. 1998). in J. Smith. 3–34. While such debates are an outcome of Saudi religious transnationalism. Notes 1 J. Transnationalism from Below (New Brunswick: Transaction. Saudi religious transnationalism has resulted in unanticipated debates among British Muslims. ‘Religious Transnationalism and Global Order with Particular Reference to Islam’.

p. 14 M. 14. 23 Z. Badawi. Muslims in Europe (London: Printer Publisher. 18. 27 A. 1998). 1 December 2001. 37 M. Lewis and D. in David Westerlund (ed. Ahsan. 65. p. 16 R. Muslim World League Journal 26/8 (1998): 20. Islam in Britain (London: Ta Ha. . p.. pp. Be Careful with Muhammad. ‘Islam and Muslims in Britain’. 16.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 165 9 ‘Sura al-nahl 16/25’. 31 Al-Jumuah 11/10 (1420 AH): 8. Islam. Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 1994–1999 (London: HMSO. 357–78. 2001). Metcalf. 35 S. 10 Ibn Baz and al-‘Uthaymin. 1982). 25 Home Office/Government Statistical Services. 1991). 36 Ibid. Peach (ed. Die Welt des Islams 21/1–4 (1983): 193–208. Islam.). 110. M.). Muslim World League Journal 26/4 (1998): 7–8. 360. 206–20. p. 1999). Haque. ‘King Fahd Mosques in Los Angeles and Edinburgh’. Islamic Britain – Religion. Research Paper 8. 24 Nielson. 1910–1980’. ‘History of the London Central Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre. Lebor. 50. Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband 1860–1900 (Princeton: Princeton University Press. Yamani. ‘The Other-Others: Hidden Arabs’. Muslims and the Modern State: Case-Studies of Muslims in Thirteen Countries (London: Macmillan. Islam Outside the Arab World (Richmond: Curzon. 1996). 33 Ibid. pp. 13. 30 Interview conducted by Christa Salamandra (London. 341. 50. Hussein and T. ‘Britain’. p. pp. Politics and Identity among British Muslims: Bradford in the 1990s (London: I. 26 ‘Saudi Arabia Serving Global Islamic Community’. at p. 351. al-Quds al-Arabi. 22 M. 32 M. 1997). 2001). al-Sudays. Raza. Akhtar. 15 P. Robinson. 17 B. Muslims and British Local and Central Government (Birmingham: Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations. 11 Ibid. Be Careful with Muhammad: The Salman Rushdie Affair (London: Below. Schnapper (eds). 1981). at p. al-Jumuah 11/10 (1420 AH): 17. Varieties of South Asian Islam. 38 Akhtar. n. 13 A. Islam.). 1999). 1994). 20 J. ‘Madha ukhabi’ al-mustaqbal li shuyukh Knightsbridge al-arab’. in B. ‘Ibn Taymiyyah’s Letters from Prison’. at p. 60. 34 A. ‘Islam and Muslims in Britain’. al-Abdah (comp. Idha’at bi munasabat ‘am 2000 (Riyadh: Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta. Werbner. p. Mission Statement (leaflet 02/09) (London: al-Muntada al-Islami. Geaves. 339–61. 1988). Muslim World League Journal 26/10 (1999): 7. A Heart Turned East: Among the Muslims of Europe and America (London: Little. 1994). Brown & Co. Hashmi (eds).. in M. Nielson. Ethnicity in the 1991 Census (London: HMSO. p. pp. ‘The Gulf War: Lay Preachers and Political Dissent among British Pakistanis’. Present and Future (Leicester: Volcano. 41 P. 2000). 40 Ibid. Muslim Minorities. 29 Al-Muntada al-Islami. in A. 1989). 1992). p.. 21 Ibid. Al-Rasheed. 19. 28 Interview conducted by Christa Salamandra (London. 39 Ahsan. p. 99. 12 M. Selly Oak College. 1994). Islam in Britain: Past.). Nasir and M. Ibn Baz and M. Tauris. in C.d. al-‘Uthaymin. B. 18 M. p. 88. p. Lewis. Muslim Minorities: Fatwa Regarding Muslims Living as Minorities (Hounslow: Message of Islam. Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations (Coventry: University of Warwick. Tibawi. 98–115. 19 ‘Major Islamic Organisations: Saudi Arabia’s Role in the Service of Islam and Muslims’. p.

al-Jumuah 11/10 (1420 AH). also M. ‘Islam and Muslims in Britain’. Islamic Britain – Religion. Current History 95/597 (1996): 16–22. 20 January 2002. Ahsan. Badawi. Muslim Minorities: Fatwa Regarding Muslims Living as Minorities. 14. 1989. Fandy. 1998. 16–21. .d. November 2001. B. Islam Outside the Arab World. p. Guarnizo (eds). Prospect. M. 11/12 (1420 AH). 18. M. ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’. ‘King Fahd Mosques in Los Angeles and Edinburgh’. and al-‘Uthaymin. Hashmi (eds). pp. ‘The Locations of Transnationalism’. Time Magazine. M. see London: Ta Ha. M. Al-Rasheed. A. n. London: Little. Fandy. Geaves. HomeOffice/Government Statistical Services Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 1994–1999 (London: HMSO. in M. al-Muntada al-Islami Mission Statement (leaflet 02/09).. Politics and Identity among British Muslims: Bradford in the 1990s. Alexiev. 3–34. M. 2001. Hounslow: Message of Islam. L. Hussein and T. See also T. 1982. P. and Haque. ‘Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Opposition’. 44 The Independent.d. Muslim World League Journal 26/10 (1999): 7. London: I. Ramadan.asp. London: World Muslim League. Brown & Co. Islam in Britain. 1999).). A Heart Turned East: Among the Muslims of Europe and America. London: Macmillan. and Smith. ‘Au coeur du Londistan’. M. New York: St Martin’s Press. Metcalf. National Review 54/20 (2002). S. Ramadan. The Common Good (newsletter of the Muslim Council of Great Britain) 2/1 (February 2002): 1–2. London: Below. 1999. To be a European Muslim (Leicester: Islamic Foundation. Richmond: Curzon. Islam. Muslim World League Journal 26/4 (1998): 7–8. Smith and L. 357–78. Akhtar. A.nationalreview. at p. Epic Encounters: Culture. Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband 1860–1900. Langellier. Guarnizo. 1997. Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent. 1999. Media and US Interests in the Middle East. ‘Major Islamic Organisations: Saudi Arabia’s Role in the Service of Islam and Muslims’.) ‘Ibn Taymiyyah’s Letters from Prison’. Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent (New York: St Martin’s Press. 46 T. ‘Britain’. IbnBaz. Lewis. 1998. 43 ‘There are no Muslim Terrorists’. Princeton: Princeton University Press. in David Westerlund (ed. in M. M. see http://www. 24 December 2001. (comp. 47 ‘Roundtable Islam and the West’. pp. M. 339–61.166 Madawi Al-Rasheed 42 On Saudi Islamist opposition. Tauris. Lebor. A. p. 1994. Berkeley: University of California Press. Nasir. R. 57. 1999). pp. Be Careful with Muhammad: The Salman Rushdie Affair. 1981. n. Z. 1999). 1994. P. London: al-Muntada al-Islami. J. 45 ‘Respect for Rule of Law: MCB Seeks Transfer of British Detainees’. New Brunswick: Transaction. Le Monde. pp. Bibliography al-Abdah. McAlister. Muslim World League Mission Statement. 10 September 2001. Muslims and the Modern State: Case-Studies of Muslims in Thirteen Countries. Q News 336 (October 2001): 9. Transnationalism from Below. 1945–2000. ‘The End of an Alliance: It’s Time to Tell the House of Saud Goodbye’. B.

Islam. Teitelbaum. Prospect. ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’. Ethnicity in the 1991 Census. in C. 206–20. Ramadan. A. Al-Rasheed. Raza. Birmingham: Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations. ‘Saudi Arabia Serving Global Islamic Community’. 18. To be a European Muslim. 1988. . 21 January 2000. Watson (eds). Religion and Global Order. Present and Future. ‘Religious Transnationalism and Global Order with Particular Reference to Islam’. Muslims and British Local and Central Government. 57. Current History 95/597 (1996): 16–22. Robinson. Idha’ at bi munasabat ‘am 2000. Selly Oak College. pp. 2000. and Landolt. Leicester: Volcano. London: Printer Publisher. Ramadan. ‘The Gulf War: Lay Preachers and Political Dissent among British Pakistanis’. 2000. Research Paper 8. 1991. al-Sudays. A. ‘History of the London Central Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre. p. ‘Roundtable Islam and the West’.Saudi religious transnationalism in London 167 Nielson. 1 December 2001. ‘Madha ukhabi’ al-mustaqbal li shuyukh Knightsbridge al-arab’. 24 December 2001. 16–21. Varieties of South Asian Islam. 1996. Schnapper (eds). pp. al-Quds al-Arabi. 98–115. M. pp. 1999. Ethnic and Racial Studies 22/2 (1999): 217–37. Muslim World League Journal 26/8 (1998): 20. 1992. J. ‘Dueling for Da‘wa: State vs. Society on the Saudi Internet’. Coventry: University of Warwick. M. A. 1994. 66–99. p. 1910–1980’. J. P. Riyadh: Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta. ‘Respect for Rule of Law: MCB Seeks Transfer of British Detainees’. Esposito and M. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. J. Al-Rasheed. Executive Intelligence Review. Lewis and D. Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations. ‘The Study of Transnationalism: Pitfall and Promise of an Emergent Research Field’.). T. Portes. London: HMSO. November 2001. pp. Guarnizo. in B. P. M. Middle East Journal 56/2 (2002): 222–39. ‘There are no Muslim Terrorists’. M. M. ‘The Other-Others: Hidden Arabs’. The Common Good (newsletter of the Muslim Council of Britain) 2/1 (February 2002): 1–2. L. Peach (ed. Yamani. Islam in Britain: Past. Die Welt des Islams 21/1–4 (1983): 193–208. Time Magazine. Tibawi. Leicester: Islamic Foundation. T.. ‘Put Britain on the List of States Sponsoring Terrorism’. in J. Muslims in Europe. Piscatori. Werbner. Q News 336 (October 2001): 9. ‘Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Opposition’.

4 However. has remained a consistent trope until the present day. who have argued. by way of partial compensation. which took the faith of the Muslim masses as read – viewed others outside the expanding tribal polity as unbelievers (kuffar). plunder and subjugation of others on the part of a particular tribal power group (‘asabiyyah) in terms of an exclusive theology. And while realpolitik often dictated that relations with the non-Wahhabi exterior be other than one of jihad. from religious conservatives. whether they were non-Muslims or non-Wahhabi Muslims. Wahhabism – in a definite break with the late medieval Sunni consensus. the definition of political opposition in terms of theological heterodoxy.3 As Aziz al-Azmeh argues. the broad strategy of the Al Sa‘ud has been to find ways of curtailing the moral authority of the ‘ulama’ to interpret religion within the confines of a modern bureaucratic system by turning them into functionaries of the state. in 1979 and after 1990. which arose because of the rise in oil revenues in the 1960s. whose remit would ultimately be decided by the King. In its most extreme manifestation. however. the modern state was able to replace Wahhabi ideology as an effective means of control of the formerly nomadic tribes. mitigated by the need to maintain a tribal social hierarchy that kept the Al Sa‘ud at the apex. but rather less attention has been given to the implications of that association for the export of Wahhabism abroad. both internal and external to the Saudi polity. for the greater independence that the ‘ulama’ enjoyed in the pre-modern period. Therefore.2 It is possible to see the relationship between Wahhabism and its exterior – political and ideational – in purely instrumental terms. through a system of subsidies and privileged citizenship. which was. on each occasion. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Wahhabi clerics took the central role in defining the basis of political unity by demanding strict religious conformity from incorporated tribes. the ‘ulama’ were diverted by the opportunity. this arrangement remained open to periodic challenges between 1927 and 1930. During this period. early Wahhabi thought rationalized conquest. to lead .8 Wahhabism in the United Kingdom Manifestations and reactions1 Jonathan Birt Academic discussion has long speculated on the nature of the relationship between the Al Sa‘ud and the Wahhabi ‘ulama’ (religious scholars) in terms of state formation and maintenance. Since the border was closed by British diktat in 1920s.

10 Once the borders were closed in the late 1920s. And from the 1990s until the present day. Equally important has been the sheer size of the Saudi book market.5 Similarly.8 Another dimension of Wahhabi influence has been the subsidizing of scholars from al-Azhar. the traditional bastion of Sunni orthodoxy.7 Serious money was also spent on buying up Arab religious publishing houses that espouse non-Wahhabi views – especially in Saudi Arabia itself. many works deemed unsuitable are no longer in print. the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 1969 and the Islamic Development Bank in 1975 – which the Al Sa‘ud assumed would serve to cement their leadership of the Muslim world. once it had the means to hand. who were specifically targeted from the 1970s onwards. In the 1960s. the Al Sa‘ud recognized that they now had to work within the international order of sovereign nation-states and modern empires. which motivated Saudi support for the Afghanistan jihad against the Soviet Union in the spirit of geo-political rivalry with Khomeini’s regime. the kingdom provided shelter to Egyptian Islamists who were supported in order to act as a conservative counterweight to Nasser’s populist Arab socialism. However. such as the Muslim Brotherhood. the willingness and ambition of the Saudi state to assume the religious leadership of the Muslim world. but also many in Egypt. Therefore. can partly be seen as a conservative reaction to external challenges to Saudi Arabia. the da ‘wah has turned in on itself to counteract dissent from anti-Saudi Wahhabis at home and abroad. a compromise that their Wahhabi military . as well as a few in Morocco and Syria. it is useful to invoke here the notion of ‘empire’. as well as increase their influence among the Muslim minorities in the West.9 In the 1980s. as a selfperceived ‘universal order that accepts no boundaries or limits’. such as that of the Egyptian cleric Muhammad al-Ghazali (d. which had opposed the use of American troops to defend the country from Saddam Hussein in 1991.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 169 a worldwide mission (da ‘wah) to spread the one and true correct Islam elsewhere rather than challenging the legitimacy of the Saudi state. the Muslim World League in 1962. or have been edited to remove sections seen as unorthodox. an instrumentalist analysis does not go far enough in explaining the ambition of the Saudi state to promote its religious vision beyond its own borders. Jordan and Lebanon. the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and other reform movements worked to establish a set of global Islamic institutions – the Islamic University of Medina in 1961. in the case of Saudi Arabia. while putting Saudi religious diplomacy into immediate political contexts is essential. this leadership was contested by the Islamic Republic of Iran. An alliance between the Wahhabi ‘ulama’.500 mosques. which has prompted commercial non-Wahhabi publishers to produce books for the international market that will not fall foul of Saudi censors. 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools.6 A recent estimate puts Saudi spending on religious causes abroad at between $2 billion and $3 billion per year since 1975 (comparing favourably with what was the annual Soviet propaganda budget of $1 billion). As a result. since the 1960s in order to promote pro-Wahhabi views and to marginalize critical voices of the older generation. 1996). as well as the fallout from other Islamist movements. which has been spent on 1.

2000). it is clear that . as was rather the case with the closure of the American border in 1890. the ideal surrogate for the expansionist jihad that was no longer possible. has succeeded in setting the agenda. . became an almost pure ideology.’14 The global spread of Wahhabism has been associated in recent decades with the scholarship of the traditionist Nasr al-Din al-Albani (d. which boasts of having over 5. Yet. and for the Saudis. 1999). This sharp bifurcation between religious and mundane affairs was achieved by eliding centuries of Islamic intellectual history. . the fracturing of Wahhabism into different subsects had come to subvert those very institutions that were meant to preserve the original dispensation of the Saudi–Wahhabi alliance. By the 1990s. This was done outside the classroom. so that original Islam (of seventh-century Arabia) could be recreated according to the political convenience of the Al Sa‘ud.13 Abroad. in all its manifestations. Crucially. the ikhwan. and Shaykh Muhammd ibn al-‘Uthaymin (d. 1999). this new state Wahhabism. characterized by strict credal and ritual conformity combined with legal liberalism for the sake of the public good (maslahah) which allowed the clerics to endorse modern developments championed by the Al Sa‘ud. the simplistic assumption of the Al Sa‘ud that the strategy of ‘buying out’ Sunni Islam would bring not only religious conformity but acceptance of their moral and political leadership of the Muslim world has failed in political terms.15 Its junior counterpart in this mission has been the Imam Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud University in Riyadh.170 Jonathan Birt vanguard.12 but with its original theological and ritual rigidity intact. in which Wahhabism.000 students from 139 countries. the Saudi system has only ever been able to encapsulate the elite corps of the ‘ulama’. the former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. According to one British graduate of the Islamic University of Medina between 1985 and 1993: ‘Medina was a very diverse and internationalist university . You had all sorts of people from all over the world with a wide range of views. whose radical wing was defined by the globalized jihad movements of Afghanistan in the 1990s. which succeeded in creating a revolutionary Wahhabism. because the conservative opposition has often been led by students or younger colleagues of establishment clerics. . deemed unacceptable.16 The policy of the Islamic University of Medina is to allocate around 85 per cent of its places to non-Saudis. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz (d. it was not long before the ideology of empire found a utopian expression: for the Americans. it was the reopening of the borders for da‘wah. this contentless nature of the Wahhabi vision of economics and politics meant that it was very open to influence from Islamist ideas from the 1960s onwards. it was ‘manifest destiny’. Internally. whose ideas have been disseminated worldwide. although the latter is more focused on producing judges for indigenous shari ‘ah courts.17 As the same theological controversies that are normally provoked by aggressive Wahhabi missionizing are now current in north-west China and Russia as well as in Britain. but has had a wide impact upon theological and ritual debate across the Muslim world. At the centre of the global Wahhabi mission is the Islamic University of Medina. The teachers never encouraged students to go to Afghanistan. from extreme to ultramodernist.11 However. now circumscribed by the government at home.

22 This latter phenomenon. British students at Medina have gained a reputation for unreliability and laziness in their studies. I intend to concentrate here specifically on the Wahhabi mission in the UK. and broader Islamist. within the European context.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 171 the orchestrated campaign to diffuse Wahhabism has been successful. London – now has greater strategic importance because part of the Saudi. opposition is based there. also a Medina alumnus. and cooperating with other sectarian groups to achieve basic concessions from local government with regard to the provision of halal meat in schools. In total. as well as to propagate their vision of Islam. the maintenance of segregated state schools and other ritual demarcations in the local public sphere. these returnees worked closely with the Indian Ahl-i Hadith movement.25 . specializing in the fundamentals of religion (usul al-din) so that they were trained as preachers rather than as imams per se. 1839). it is clear from the collected responsa of the late Mawlana that much of his polemical attention was focused on reforming Sufi practices and beliefs common among British Pakistanis. and the reactions that it has produced. whose UK headquarters are in Birmingham. At first. were the medieval Hanbalite theologian Ibn Taymiyyah (d. the United Kingdom can claim no special distinction.19 Madawi Al-Rasheed has charted the role of important religious institutions in London either funded or directly controlled by official Saudi sources. The core intellectual influences on the Ahl-i Hadith. Britain – and. having said that. whose print runs can be five to ten times that of any other British-based sectarian publication. Ibn ‘Abd alWahhab (d.23 In Britain. 1792). as a mere sub-domain of the global Wahhabi da ‘wah. but not the founder of Wahhabism. The first British-born graduates from the Islamic University of Medina began to return home during the early 1980s. in particular. such as the supplementary school. and the wider impact of Saudi largesse on British Muslims in the UK. as well as much of the Arab press.18 Therefore. and many have studied at the Faculty of Da‘wah. 1762) and the Yemeni Zaydi al-Shawkani (d. British graduates from Medina number in the hundreds. in its various manifestations. which is also subject to Saudi patronage and influence. at least until the 1920s.20 Of note also has been the flooding of the local Islamic book market with Wahhabi literature. the Deoband. 1328) and his students. the movement organized itself in the 1970s under the leadership of the Birmingham imam Mawlana Mahmud Ahmad Mirpuri (1946–88).21 However. a small sectarian grouping with 31 affiliated mosques nationally. aggressively targeted for a global Englishspeaking audience.24 Yet whatever sectarian amity was necessary in terms of credible negotiation with the local state. a nineteenth-century radical reform movement from North India. Yet. even in reaching the Islamic periphery. and an important part of Saudi aims abroad is to counteract dissidence. the key late medieval reformers such as the Indian Shah Wali Allah (d. with many failing to complete their degrees. the dominant Muslim ethnic group in Birmingham. with an emphasis on building core community institutions. was best characterized by its vehement stand against taqlid (conformity to the ancient Islamic legal schools) and was more impatient to remove local custom than even its fellow movement.

the Birmingham group remained strictly loyal to the Saudi insistence that the priority was not political reform but the correction of false belief and practice among Muslims. and has remained supportive of ikhwani scholarship and some of the jihad movements of the 1990s. a convert and alumnus of the Islamic University of Medina. who dominated the British branch of Hizb al-Tahrir until he was ousted in 1996. notably Shaykh Abu Hamza al-Masri (b. However. From Birmingham. c. After the terrorist attacks on the USA in September 2001. and an unwillingness to prefer English over Urdu. al-Muhajiroun. Its organizational headquarters moved south to Ipswich. Those British Arabs or South Asians who are attracted to such views tend instead towards the more revolutionary strains of Wahhabism. c. among others. however. 1958. decisively rejecting the idea that they must be loyal to the machinations of what they view as a corrupt foreign power. but who has continued essentially the same work under his own organization. a veteran of the Afghanistan jihad). the key interest of pro-Saudi Wahhabis in Britain was to disassociate themselves from theological fellow-travellers who were advocating global jihad and even terrorism. the figure who has done most to popularize anti-Saudi sentiment among young Muslims has been Omar Bakri Mohammed (b. it was only in 1995 that tensions in Wahhabi circles in the Gulf became apparent in Britain. 1958). when a breakaway faction was formed in Birmingham. while JIMAS and other Wahhabis who remained open to ikhwani views are relatively more attractive to young South Asians. 1963.172 Jonathan Birt The British-born Medina graduates. who studied ‘aqidah at Imam Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud University in Riyadh). a British convert caught in the act of attempting to blow up a Transatlantic aeroplane in December 2001. impatient with what they saw as a lack of dynamism and relevance. as are the Islamist groups such as al-Muhajiroun (the Emigrants) and Hizb al-Tahrir (the Liberation Party).1951. who are all based in London. in 1984.26 They also were quick to disassociate themselves from Richard Reid. there are noticeable ethnic emphases. or the Association to Revive the Way of the Messenger. a student of al-Albani who has recently been accused of being a key figure in al-Qaeda’s European network) and Muhammad al-Mas’ari (b. including North America. who had . the PalestinianJordanian Abu Qatadah (b. Although all these groups work to attain a cross-ethnic appeal. Saudi dissident and former member of Hizb al-Tahrir). The Saudi loyalists today have a presence in London and Luton as well as Birmingham. under the leadership of Dawud Burbank. they produced a subsidized translation of Ibn Baz’s 1998 fatwah against terrorism. While JIMAS broadly accepted the ikhwani criticism of the Saudis. Within the British sectarian context. The jihadi fringe has more appeal for radicalized Arabs. formed the Jam‘iyat Ihya’ Minhaj al-Sunnah ( JIMAS). hijacking and suicide bombing for mass distribution in the English-speaking diaspora. Shaykh ‘Abdullah Faysal (b. and have a disproportionate appeal among younger Somalis and Afro-Caribbean converts.1960. The critique of the Saudi state has become even further ingrained within Wahhabi circles as anti-Saudi Wahhabi scholars and activists settled in Britain during the 1990s. and thereafter it did much of its pioneering work in London.

and to highlight their opposition to terrorism. For instance.30 However. the loyalists attempted to capitalize on the atmosphere of panic and suspicion to harden public opinion against their critics.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 173 attended their main mosque in Brixton. they were quick to emphasize that the authorities had ignored their warnings about the spread of jihadi elements. south London. under political pressure from the pro-Israel lobby in particular (among others). Abu Hamza became the first immigrant to be threatened with the stripping of his UK citizenship for ‘seriously prejudicing’ the nation’s interests under the Asylum. Immigration and Nationality Act 2002. Much to the annoyance of more moderate Muslim leaders. In June 2003.’28 The vocal jihadi Wahhabis and Islamists have attempted to push for further recruitment through the oxygen of controversy by enraging the British press. which was firstly directed towards silencing the outspoken militants.29 This was particularly true after the revelations in late October 2001 that some Muslim Britons had gone to fight for the Taliban. especially right-wing newspapers. They should be deported. which a Scotland Yard informant describes as being part of the ‘mouth’ rather than the ‘trousers brigade’: ‘These people are inciters of terrorism. any foreign nationals suspected of links to terrorist groups. their vocal spokesmen have been casualties of the international ‘war against terrorism’ which has allowed their pro-Saudi rivals to . by which the former were allowed to preach radical rhetoric so long as they were not deemed to have direct involvement in terrorist activities. This has allowed radical Wahhabis to question the legitimacy of Muslim leaders such as the government-backed Muslim Council of Britain. Abu Khadijah. A similar reaction was provoked when it was discovered that a suspected Muslim hijacker bound for the UK from Stockholm on a Ryanair flight was due to attend the annual pro-Saudi Wahhabi conference in Birmingham. without a right to trial. although it was marketed primarily as the means to tackle Islamophobia. alternative legal instruments were used to silence or incarcerate vocal radicals. All these individuals in London incite terrorism into the youth of the UK and are all wanted in their countries. In February 2003. the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between known radicals and the British secret services. this tactic seems to have worked to force the national debate at times to focus on questions of Muslim loyalty to the state. After the attacks in the USA. and a failed attempt was made to pass provisions against incitement to religious hatred.31 It is clear therefore that despite the ability of radical Wahhabis to garner national notoriety. who could not be detained under existing anti-terrorist legislation. After a controversial police raid on Finsbury Park Mosque in north London in January 2003. was rendered inoperative. Shaykh Faysal was convicted under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act for soliciting the murder of unknown persons. Abu Hamza al-Masri was excluded from it in February 2003 by the Charity Commission for using it to spread radical political propaganda. was considerably more robust than the Metropolitan police in his assessment of al-Muhajiroun. The British government passed antiterrorism legislation in December 2001 that enabled them to incarcerate. In their public response.27 In terms of the intra-Wahhabi dispute. the first time that this law had been invoked in over a century. the current leader of the Birmingham faction.

a general feature in Muslim societies globally. There has been significant recruitment from most of the main South Asian sectarian groupings. even the reformed Sufism of nineteenth-century India is further scripturalized. and to defend their attachment to the Hanaf í legal school in terms of primary sources. as was the case in British India. it is perhaps underemphasized that petrodollar Wahhabism has been a key agent of this change in recent decades. of course. the da‘wah provoked significant religious reactions from the established South Asian sectarianisms. It was during the period 1989–95. that the Deobandis are portrayed with their rivals. like their rivals. an alliance linked together by a common opposition to religious reform rather than by a mass programme of popular Islamic education. As a result of this aggressive recruitment. thereby obscuring the closeness in credal and ritual issues between them. Thus. British Islam has become more purely scripturalist. The most affected groupings were the popular South Asian Sufi orders. and a more generous one of ascribing divinity to other than God (shirk). This Deobandi Sufi preceptor admitted that there was now such a climate of scepticism among his disciples that when teaching classics.33 One imam told me that while his Deobandi grandshaykh had been ‘half-Berlewi’. This influence had little to do with politics as such. Hence. this ritual contestation has centred on the correct performance of the canonical prayer in congregation. the Deobandis. given the history of sectarian competition from the subcontinent. otherwise known as the Berlewis. the Wahhabi critique forced all groups to accelerate the shift in their religious discourse away from an implicit trust in received religious authority (taqlid ) towards direct proofs from the Qur’an and sunnah. the Berlewis. In general. as deviant Hanafi Sufis and blameworthy innovators in religion. It is ironic. such as the Risalah Qushayriyyah for instance. he considered himself to be ‘half-Salafi’. he had to leave out everything that could not be proved explicitly by primary textual evidence. . under pressure from the Wahhabi critique. This polemic attacks not only what might be seen as a late medieval Sunni consensus in theology. that the Wahhabi da‘wah made its greatest impact on British Muslims. however. For Deobandis. This is. with the exception of the Deobandis.174 Jonathan Birt reposition themselves as moderate allies in the same campaign. before these internal political tensions became apparent. but was rather fuelled by the relative novelty of arguments made in the British context with regard to correct belief and practice underpinned by a more restrictive definition of forbidden innovation in religion (bid‘ah).32 This impact had much to do with the disruption of homogeneous ritual spaces – the established South Asian mosques – by the Wahhabi critique of what they describe as unfounded ritual practice. law and mysticism but even those sympathetic reform movements of the last 200 years that are seen as not having sufficiently internalized the Wahhabi perspective. In particular. it has encouraged the younger British-born ‘ulama’ to accept aspects of the Wahhabi critique of Sufism. and stripped of gnostic content in order to become closer to an inward praxis (tazkiyat al-nafs). various forms of which have become markers of sectarian allegiance.

and the chief means of drawing sectarian boundaries. young adherents have had to look outside their own tradition for answers. it would have been unthinkable that the collection of Bukhari. 1954). the formal theology (kalam) of the ‘ulama’ gave way to simplistic popular catechisms. True religion is defended as that which is connected through the continuous transmission of learning back to its Prophetic origin. which are the chief influences on Sunni sectarianism in Britain. 1945). the Wahhabi provocation has taken formal hadith studies out of the hands of the ‘ulama’ into those of the Muslim public. it has sparked a revival of explicitly ‘traditional’ Islamic studies that is underpinned by a vocal defence of the centrality of the ijazah (authorization to teach an Islamic discipline). however. At the same time. In simple terms. revered as the most canonical of all compendiums of Prophetic tradition and the final book studied before attaining the rank of a cleric in the South Asian seminary. The theological turn in Islamic discourses pre-dates the colonial period. when it could not longer be legally enforced. and disseminated via audio tapes and the internet. In the British context. which is the only way that true understanding and God’s grace may be transferred from one generation to the next. the American Shadhili scholar Nuh Keller (b. However. of all the South Asian reform movements. the model has spread from the UK to North America. the Wahhabi provocation has put credal issues at the centre of the search for religious authenticity among young Muslims by extending further the list of beliefs and practices that constitute unbelief. These have come from the anti-Wahhabi polemic within the Arab world. and putting . have not emphasized Islamic education to the same degree. From the first ijazah-based intensive study course in 1994. the impact of Christian mission and the spread of the technologies of mass communication which made new forms of trans-local religious mobilization possible. 1960).34 For those movements closer to pure scripturalism such as the Deobandis. perhaps the most significant ideational shift has been the rise of popular theology among British Muslim movements that have increasingly come to define ‘Muslimness’ in terms of belief rather than practice. In particular. would be taught openly at Birmingham Central Mosque. most notably from the cultural mediators of these traditions who operated in an Anglicized milieu: the Lebanese Naqshbandi Shaykh Hisham Kabbani (b.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 175 As the Berlewis. It is important to note that the shift towards theology was particularly important in Arabia and South Asia. as is now happening. The taxing of a fellow-believer with unbelief (takfír) became the ultimate social sanction. in particular from the Sufi orders. 1960) and the popular American scholar Hamza Yusuf (b. the British Ba-‘Alawi scholar ‘Abdal Hakim Murad (b. Until very recently. marked by the ubiquitous use of the term ‘aqidah (creed) in the twentieth century. it only gained significant momentum with the impetus that European expansion provided in terms of dismantling the Islamic legal system. The explicit defence of what was so implicit in scribal cultures – the ijazah – is indicative of its precipitate decline at a time when religious learning is now mostly autodidactic and information about Islam is easily obtained through forms of mass communication. the premodern legal categories of ‘faith’ (iman) and ‘unbelief ’ (kufr) were internalized as moral imperatives.

With the rise of intra-Wahhabi disputes after the Gulf War of 1990–1.36 The discussion comes to turn on the exegesis of Surah al-Ma’idah. sinfulness less than sinfulness’.37 This minor unbelief relates to actions. in the mosques and on the street. to consideration of which groups in society rightfully deserve its application. credal matters are now widely disputed and have become the preferred means of sectarian and hence social demarcation in youthful religious circles. The key point of contention is over the implication of ‘disbelievers’ in this verse. The rise of demotic theology among British Muslims is certainly also a product of the religious self-consciousness that minority status reinforces as well as a symptom of a period of increased sectarian division where new and relatively small groupings struggle to establish their religious credentials. of challenging Muslim political rule. a lengthy digression can ensue as to whether or not the mere omission . Ibn Baz and Ibn al-‘Uthaymin. The following example concerns what has been the crucial debate in the last decade about the legitimacy. from whether such an activity is legitimate or not. The pro-Saudi faction adopts a position close to the classical Sunni view with regard to assessing the faith of the head of a Muslim state (read King Fahd) who does not judge by Islamic law. with the early Qur’anic exegete Ibn ‘Abbas. As a result. courses for recent converts now include a section on the principles of taxing others with unbelief (usul al-takfír). or otherwise. which has been imported wholesale to the UK. in theological rather than jurisprudential language. but that exactly the same debate can be found everywhere among Muslims of a certain bent in the heartland and the diaspora.176 Jonathan Birt under scrutiny what had formally been seen to be sound. the debate on charges of infidelity (takfír) has moved on. whether acts are considered to be an essential part of faith or not. the Kharijites and the Murji’ites. in other words. Saudi loyalists argue.38 Thereafter. The difficulty is what to make of this apparent outcome of globalization: the radical decontextualization of rapidly disseminated ideas in new locales. In Luton. It is assumed that he does so because of insufficient faith and not by way of rejection. how can the apparent obscurity of their local pertinence be understood? The political debates between British Wahhabis are couched. while major unbelief pertains to credal issues. This opinion was upheld by al-Albani. Thus the discussion comes to turn upon what was the earliest theological debate in Islam between two sects. The point is not that this debate should be taken to be intrinsically irrelevant to the everyday concerns of British Muslims. William Roff ’s contention that paying close attention to contemporaneous religious debates is a key to understanding ideational and actual change in Muslim societies35 is a fruitful premise from which to start when attempting to unpack the rather dense theologized arguments that take place among British Wahhabis. for the most part. wrong less than wrong. which arose in the 650s – namely. verse 44: ‘Whoever does not judge by what Allah revealed. then these it is that are the disbelievers’ (wa ma lam yahkum bi-ma anzala Allah fa-ula ’ika hum al-kafirun). which is symptomatic of the intensified dislocation of religious ideas from fixed geographies when distance and time have been compressed. in internet chat-rooms. a Saudi Wahhabi stronghold. that it is ‘unbelief (kufr) less than unbelief.

40 Wahhabi critics of the Saudi royal family have now made political dissidence itself a theological principle. He further argues that a Muslim leader who fails to apply Islamic law has broken his divine covenant with God. rather than its denial.39 The critics. and therefore it is the duty of scholars to tax him with unbelief and to incite the masses to rise against him in rebellion. constitutes an act that obviates one’s Islam. He argues that this comment of Ibn ‘Abbas about ‘a unbelief less than unbelief ’ referred to the dispute between two groups of the Companions who both had exercised their legal reasoning. then who is left to perform missionary work? What are the rulings of the scholars with regard to [the Islamic status of political rule and of waging jihad on behalf of ] Afghanistan and Chechnya? What is immediately apparent is how divorced these questions are from the local politics of inner-city Birmingham. Principally. and from the arguments of jihadi Wahhabis in particular. Furthermore.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 177 of the canonical prayer. however wrapped up in theology. is under considerable pressure. They have attempted to add a fourth pillar to Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s three principles of monotheism:41 the unity of governance (tawhid al-hakimiyyah). G G G G G G G G Is a person who joins many groups and who criticizes anyone who maligns Sayyid Qutb part of the Salafi way? Is the ruling correct that initiating the salam with the people of innovation (ahl al-bid‘ah) is impermissible? How are we supposed to have patience when the infidels are killing Muslims and invading their lands? How are we supposed to find a good Islamic state to migrate to when even Saudi Arabia has a king? Which is the best country to migrate to? Can one train for jihad even if one’s [Muslim] trainers are not following the methodology (minhaj ) of the pious predecessors (salafiyyah)? If we all migrate [abroad]. politics becomes theological rather than jurisprudential in Wahhabi discourse so that judging the performance of the political elite becomes a matter of faith. and so it did not refer to outright rejection of Islamic law. Pnina Werbner argues convincingly that . Al-‘Uthaymin and Ibn Baz agree that the simple neglect of prayer nullifies Islam. while al-Albani disagrees. argue the opposite: that failing to apply the shari‘ah is an act of major unbelief. the drift of the questions demonstrates that Wahhabi recruits seek to translate complex theological ideas into simplified acts of social and ritual avoidance of sectarian rivals. Thus the whole discussion transmutes into theology proper about the relationship between faith and acts even though its genesis is a political dispute. therefore.42 At the annual conference (August 2001) held by Saudi Wahhabis in Birmingham. which preferred autocracy to rebellion.000. which had an attendance of around 4. it was clear from the questions asked by loyalists that pro-Saudi state propaganda. such as Abu Hamza al-Masri. so as to break the natural conservatism of Sunni political theory.

locked out of local (and national) politics. he launched into a ferocious diatribe against the ineffective and corrupt religious leadership of the pioneer generation. However. At a small jihadi circle (halaqah) in Birmingham that I attended in early 2001. a young Pakistani Muslim student who had become a Wahhabi taxed her parents with unbelief. Birmingham was a dystopia in which a whole generation of young Muslims was being lost to drug culture and criminality. of all things. who were set on advancing personal interests. the participants. who only ever numbered between eight and fifteen. proposed radical solutions. have instead turned towards global Islamism.43 Once when I asked a jihadi (who was. an ex-banker) what he thought of local issues facing Muslims in Birmingham. both locally and nationally.178 Jonathan Birt behind the global fabulations that invoke the imagined global Muslim nation (ummah) lie the frustrations of British Muslims at their relative social marginalization. In his view. neophytes were regularly exposed to the rhetoric of global jihad. the social touchstone of Islamic radicalism in Birmingham – and. elsewhere – is the repudiation by a vocal minority of marriages arranged within kinship networks. Marriage among the Saudi loyalists is not only non-kinship-group and cross-ethnic in character. the Saudi loyalists in Birmingham have. and therefore he had to look outside Britain to find ways of changing the world. divorce and remarriage than in Muslim society at large.45 On this issue. These ‘shotgun’ marriages require few of the complicated niceties that accompany the more widespread arranged method or. It was revealing of the attitudes of a younger generation who felt that their professional skills and contextualized cultural knowledge were being overlooked by their parents. increasingly. on occasion. the love match that is eventually stamped with parental approval. The local Wahhabi leadership denied all knowledge of the couple’s whereabouts in order to confound the attempts of her male relatives to seek redress. Among British Pakistanis. It is evidently also a repudiation of kinship-group-based social organization in favour of what is seen as pan-ethnic as well as transnational Muslim solidarity. it is estimated that rates of first-cousin marriage remained above 50 per cent in the post-migration context. conducting da‘wah and the like. Thus the difference with the pioneer generation is that some in the next generation. but there are higher rates of polygyny. seemed to look for ways out of acquiescing to uncompromising appeals for immediate migration (hijrah) to the then Islamic emirate of Afghanistan or participation in holy war with the usual legal excuses of looking after aged parents. It is clear that Muslim political radicalism fits within a larger framework of social and doctrinal reform that is fundamentally about challenging generational . it is important to stress that it is the fabulation that really matters most of the time. I suspect. which coincides with the rationale of multicultural identity politics. Beyond politics. The suffering of oppressed Muslims abroad is read as an allegory of how the diaspora sees its own status in Britain.44 Yet for the most part. couched in rhetoric of victimhood. In one case. It is a young Muslim’s social experiment where new social rules are being worked out in a rereading of Islamic tradition. migrated to the ‘safe abode’ of Birmingham and then promptly married a convert.

DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy. in turn. Furthermore. 2002). Religion and State in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Boulder: Westview. the local mosque committee or corrupt Muslim governments abroad – to account in the name of a holistic identity unanchored in any ethnicity. . Wahhabism is now resolutely globalized and prone to pan-Islamist dissidence. A History of Saudi Arabia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Islams and Modernities (London: Verso. It is the ‘theological turn’ in Islamic discourses from fiqh to ‘aqidah. 4 Aziz al-Azmeh. in Aziz al-Azmeh (ed. In both instances. especially after September 2001. even when political engagement in the diaspora begins to emphasize local concerns as well as global fabulations. Islamic movements. 1985). These discussions currently centre on the relevance of taqlid to a scholarly tradition in an age of mass education and communication. in which the individual rather than the state became the locus of religious authority. the impact of colonialism and of new minority status in the diaspora appears to have encouraged theologized moral rearmament.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 179 hierarchies within the various Muslim ethnic groups. expressed as ‘ummatic’ politics. pp. Notes 1 This chapter is based on fieldwork conducted in Birmingham and London between 2000 and 2002. political anxieties about the loyalties of transnational Muslim diasporas to the nation-state. As such. Finally. from the Saudi perspective. this new Islamic individual comes to hold the state to account. a doctrine once developed in service of tribal and then national unity has become unbound from such constraints. kinship group or nation-state on the part of an impatient younger generation. ‘Wahhabite Polity’. 2000). on what is the proper etiquette for all forms of public dissent. 3 See A. It is primarily in ritual and personal religious space that Wahhabism in Britain is likely to have a much longer-term influence in the articulation of this new sort of religious individualism. and on the merits of the increasing privatization of the religious conscience that links moral rectitude to the verities of personal faith rather than to the application of the law. should not obscure the greater significance of ideational religious debates among Muslims in the diaspora.). which initially coincided with the loss of Muslim political power. and often theologically very divergent. al-Yassini. works against the public expression of local concerns in new religious movements defined by a rigid scripturalism and an agenda driven by foreign funding. the general globalization of political concern. 112. 2 Although ‘Wahhabism’ has always been a polemical epithet. 1993). and Madawi Al-Rasheed.46 However. and so. one’s parents. at p. It is about holding the ‘elders’ – the British government. Joshua Teitelbaum. 104–21. Holier than Thou: Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Opposition (Washington. which might equally be applied to historically distinct. it remains my preferred usage (except in paraphrases or quotes) because it is much clearer than self-ascribed descriptions such as al-muwahidun (unitarians) or salafiyyah ( pious predecessors). on interviews and on a survey of popular Islamic literature produced or distributed in Britain. it is equally evident that a growing political awareness of global Muslim issues has made British Muslims much less likely to absorb propaganda from a foreign state gullibly.

Galina Yemelianova. ‘Wahhabite Polity’. Saudi ideological imperialism has been frustrated. The saturation of the book market is apparent at Islamic book fairs across the Arab world. today’s empire is a ‘decentred and deterritorializing apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open. 1955). Oxford. p. 28–32 and al-Yassini. While. 9 For further details. pp. were. the ‘awakening shaykhs’. the figure was not thought unrealistic by several of my informants who have long experience of raising money in Saudi Arabia. Editing of classical works is often unscrupulous or. 2000)) argue that unlike the older. xiv). MA: Belkap and Harvard University Press. which were resolutely territorial. 112–15. ‘Moral Hazard’. 102–49. and now forms a kind of reactionary counter-empire. Empire. paper presented at a conference on Transnational Connections with the Arab Gulf and Beyond. xii. 124. 15 Ibid. 14 John Hooper and Brian Whitaker. 146–50). and aims at rewriting the classical Sunni heritage of higher learning in Wahhabi terms. ‘Evolution of a Wahhabi University’. in which modern Wahhabi polemical works attacking Sufism and medieval Sunni theology now predominate. For example. Gladney. 7 While this estimate comes from Alex Alexiev (‘The End of an Alliance: It’s Time to Tell the House of Saud Goodbye’. who has taken a stand against the spread of Wahhabi thought. 75. 11 Al-Azmeh. pp. The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. 70–5. 2002). 6 Ibid. 1962). 1999). 11 July 2002) of Khaled Abou El Fadl (b.. 8 E-mail communications with non-Wahhabi ‘ulama’ in Syria and Jordan. hostile. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies 26 (Richmond: Curzon. MA: Harvard University Press. Holier than Thou. in Leif Manger (ed. a professor of Islamic jurisprudence at the University of California and a former Azharite graduate and student of Muhammad al-Ghazali. Wahhabism has become hybridized and is no longer confined to Saudi control. 1950) and Salman al-‘Awdah (b. the leading state cleric. as I argue below. Anthony F. ‘Extremist View of Islam Unites Terror Suspects: Salafi Purist Teaching Backed by Saudi Royals’. pp. had studied theology under Ibn Baz. a hawkish ex-Sovietologist and Rand Corporation adviser. respectively. the proclaimed saviour of the 1979 movement. a recent Riyadh edition of al-Nawawi’s Kitab al-adhkar retitled the chapter ‘Visiting the grave of the Prophet’ as ‘Visiting the mosque of the Prophet’ in line with the verdict of Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 12 Kepel. Jihad. 156. 17 Muhammad Qasim Zaman. See Teitelbaum. Chair of the Department of Theology at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca. Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. Roberts (Cambridge. Wahhabism has been globalized. p. at the very least. 13 For instance. Muhammad al-Qahtani. 26 October 2001. ‘Transnational Islam versus Ethnic Islam in . pp. 1328). p. authors’ italics) and transcends the powers or agendas of any one state (p. nineteenth-century imperialisms. and thus part of the post-11 September security stance of some right-wing policy makers who see the strategic relationship between the USA and Saudi Arabia as misguided. 16 See James Piscatori. and after 1990. September 2002. February 2003. which nonetheless shares the qualities of empire as it can only work within the system (Hardt and Negri.180 Jonathan Birt 5 Gilles Kepel. New Republic Magazine.). ‘The Salafiyya Movement in Northwest China: Islamic Fundamentalism among the Muslim Chinese’. Guardian. p. In the process. Muslim Diversity: Local Islam in Global Contexts. 10 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (Empire (Cambridge. Kepel ( Jihad. see the illuminating profile (Franklin Foer. expanding frontiers’ (p. pp. both in the Muslim world and among the Muslim diaspora. National Review 54/20 (2002)). trans. 2002). 18 Dru C. Safar al-Hawali (b. Religion and State. and possessor of a master’s degree in principles of religion from Imam Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud University in Riyadh. 72) agrees with Alexiev’s figure for Saudi-financed mosques.

1860–1900 (Princeton: Princeton University Press. Brill. Britannia’s Crescent: Making a Place for Muslims in British Society (Aldershot: Avebury. Usha Sanyal. Hijackings and Suicide Bombings and an Advice to Usaamah ibn Laden from Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Baz (Birmingham: Salafi Publications. 16 October 2001 (pamphlet). one of the founding scholars of the Ahl-i Hadith. in Stefano Allievi and Jorgen S. no Muslim is safe from it and no Muslim is safe. and Daniele Joly. 1998). trends of thinking and movements are different – we should not forget that the attack is directed against the Muslims. Vikram Dodd. 31 August 2002. Guardian. Guardian.D. 1996). In fact. Guardian. J. Hizb ut-Tahrir. I owe this information to Guido Steinberg. ‘Muslims in Birmingham’. 243–80. 296–314. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz. pp. Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe (Leiden: E. Dodd. ‘Sect Opposes Protests and Brands Terrorists as Sinners’. For a seminal overview of Berlewi–Deobandi disputation in British India see Barbara Daly Metcalf. 1996). 86. 26 December 2001. Devotional Islam and Politics in British India: Ahmad Riza Khan Barelwi and his Movement. Oxford. ‘Sect Opposes Protests’. 2003). 1995). E-mail communication with Claudia Preckel (Ruhr University. introducing 17 Najdi students who trained between 1880 and 1930 with Khan and other Ahl-i Hadith scholars in the sciences of Prophetic tradition. 1870–1920 (Delhi: Oxford University Press. 25 February 2003. Germany). Mohammed Abdul Hadi al-Oomeri (Riyadh: DarusSalam. 85–104. 1982). It is also not allowed for the Muslims to forsake their brothers even if their opinions. ‘Mosque Leader Warns over Extremist Converts’. trans. the earliest proven contact between Wahhabi scholars and the Ahl-i Hadith. for an in-depth analysis of Muslim debates on education in Birmingham. Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband.’ This allegation is from a Muslim activist who was shown a list of candidates for arrest. ‘London’s Arab Media’. and more Muslim names were present than non-Muslim ones. 25 February 2003. ‘Salvation Army Boy who Converted to Campaign of Hate’. Cornelius William North. Staff and Agencies. Selly Oak College. The Campaign to Subvert Islam as an Ideology and a System. schools of thought. Christa Salamandra. Bochum. Clarification of the Truth in Light of Terrorism. Mahmood Ahmed Mirpuri. but that ‘it is obligatory on the Muslims at this time to stand shoulder to shoulder in one line facing the challenges that confront them. Here it is argued that some Muslims have been prepared ‘to provide their services to the West in order to secure some petty interests’. Nielsen (eds). ‘Radical Cleric Barred from Mosque’. drawn up in advance of any legislation on incitement to religious hatred.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 181 Eastern Europe: The Role of the Media’. Fatawa Sirat-e Mustaqeem. Tania Branigan. ‘Muslims in Birmingham: Religious Activity in Mosques and Para-Mosques’ (Ph. Guardian. See North. chapter 7 in this volume. ‘Saudi religious transnationalism in London’. 1890). It is not allowed for the Muslims to disown his brother or snub him so as to remove the suspicion from himself and gain the love of the disbelievers. including Saudi Wahhabi ones. according to Arab sources. September 2002. were letters written to Muhammad Siddiq Hasan Khan of Bhopal (d. pp. Vikram Dodd. 2001). thesis: Birmingham: Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations. paper presented at a conference on Transnational Connections within the Arab Gulf and Beyond. See Madawi Al-Rasheed. p. for an overview of the development of the Ahl-i Hadith sect in Birmingham from the 1970s until 1995. A recent example of Wahhabi criticism of the 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 . Information given by a Birmingham-based Muslim printer who produces religious titles for several sectarian publishing houses in the city. pp.

In the case of the Birmingham Saudi loyalists. 85–104. p. and intro.). Roff. Khawaarij and Jihad (Birmingham: Makhtabah al-Ansaar. A. 153–83. 21 November 2001. based in Birmingham. although not exclusively (some monies also come from local government). A. 1937’. William R. 2002). al-‘Uthaymin. Ibid. see Aftab Malik. The Present Rulers of Islam? Are they Muslims or Not? (London: al-Firdous. London: al-Firdous. 2000). from Abu Hanifa al-Salafi. the unity of divinity (tawhid al-uluhiyyah) and the unity of the Divine Names and Attributes (tawhid al-asma’ wa’l-sifat). . information has come from disaffected ex-members of groups. 174–7. 2000). Salafi Publications Yahoo! Group.. ‘A Response’. pp. Ta’weel [unfounded use of reason in the interpretation of primary textual sources]. Ebrahim (ed. pp. pp. in Fazlur Rahman. pp. Takfeer [taxing Muslims with unbelief]. Bibliography Abdurrahman. Fazlur Rahman. The Broken Chain: Reflections on the Neglect of a Tradition (Bristol: Amal Press. Khalq-ul-Qur’aan [arguments for the createdness of the Qur’an]. For a modern British Muslim defence of the ijazah. Pnina Werbner. pp. Alison Shaw. Minhajus Sunnah 1 (November 2000).yahoo. ‘A Response to the Permanent Committee’s Verdict’. reading through a commentary on Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s Usul al-thalathah by that pillar of the Saudi clerical establishment. This comment comes from a Saudi loyalist e-group list. Khurooj [a reference to the tours of Tablighi Jama‘at which are condemned as baseless acts]. ‘Early Sects and the Formation of Islamic Orthodoxy’. which demonstrates the ideological closeness of the pro. 25–42. 1989. Imagined Diasporas among Manchester Muslims (Oxford: SAR Press and James Currey. (accessed 30 November 2001) [link broken]. ‘Deobandi Deceivers’. O. 1989). 137–59. 87–96. Tafweedh [failing to affirm the Attributes of God when denying any human knowledge of the modality of the Divine Attributes] and many more bid’ahs [unsanctioned innovations in religion]’. Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s three principles of monotheism are the unity of worship (tawhid al-rububiyyah). much funding is obtained from Kuwait. Ewing (ed. The Present Rulers of Islam? Are they Muslims or not?. Omar Ahmed Ali Abdurrahman. 2001). Revival and Reform in Islam: A Study of Islamic Fundamentalism. ‘Biradi Solidarity and Cousin Marriage’. Given sensitivities over being accused as sell-outs by fellow British Muslims. especially after September 2001. Kalaam [impermissible speculative theology]. it is very hard to get direct information on funding from the parties involved. in Katherine P. according to corroborative second-hand sources. ‘Whence Cometh the Law? Dog Saliva in Kelantan. 30–68. allied with suspicions over foreign funding of Muslim organizations in general. In this case.). Shaykh Abu-Hamza al-Masri. Khalid bin Muhammad al-’Anbari. A good example from Birmingham can be seen from ‘Ali Hasan al-Halabi. p.and anti-Saudi Wahhabis in terms of theology and jurisprudence. 1988). http://groups. Instead. Moosa (Oxford: Oneworld. l07. 1999). in Alison Shaw (ed. al-Halabi. Shari‘at and Ambiguity in South Asian Islam (Berkeley: University of California Press. Kinship and Continuity: Pakistani Families in Britain (Amsterdam: Harvard Academic Publishers. 18.). pp. Ruling by Other than what Allah Revealed [and] the Fundamentals of Takfir [al-Hukm bi-ghayr ma anzala Allah wa usul al-takfir] (Detroit: alQur’an was-Sunnah Society of North America.182 Jonathan Birt 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 Deobandis illustrates the rather abstruse points of difference between them: ‘these evil Deo-Bandits [sic] who combine Soofism. [2001]).

D. see http://www. 25 February 2003. Selly Oak College.00. Roberts. and Negri. Foer. 26 October F. 1860–1900. 2001. New Republic Magazine. F. 2001. London: Verso. Khawaarij and Jihad. al-Oomeri. Clarification of the Truth in Light of Terrorism. T. Guardian. H. pp.00. Kepel. 1999. Birmingham: Salafi Publications.3604. H. ‘Sect Opposes Protests and Brands Terrorists as Sinners’. see http://www. D. North.3604. ‘Radical Cleric Barred from Mosque’. A. ‘The Salafiyya Movement in Northwest China: Islamic Fundamentalism among the Muslim Chinese’. MA: Belkap and Harvard University Press. 31 August 2002. Fandy. trans. Malik. 11 July 2002. thesis: Centre for the Study of Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations.). M. Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. ‘Muslims in Birmingham: Religious Activity in Mosques and Para-Mosques’. 2001. Oxford: Oneworld. ‘Wahhabite Polity’. Birmingham: Makhtabah al-Ansaar. Richmond: Curzon. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies flashback-alexiev112602. 2002.902398. 1982. 1995. A. 1993. 2000. Britannia’s Crescent: Making a Place for Muslims in British Society. G. Muslim Diversity: Local Islam in Global Contexts.D. ‘Extremist View of Islam Unites Terror Suspects: Salafi Purist Teaching Backed by Saudi Royals’. in MA: Harvard University Press.html (accessed 25 February 2003). pp. D. A. A. Hooper. Dodd. ‘A Response to the Permanent Committee’s Verdict’. al-Halabi.00. Ruling by Other Than What Allah Revealed [and] the Fundamentals of Takfir [alHukm bi-ghayr ma anzala Allah wa usul al-takfír].html (accessed 31 August 2002). see also http://www. National Review 54/20 (2002). Princeton: Princeton University Press. Fatawa Sirat-e Mustaqeem. The Broken Chain: Reflections on the Neglect of a Tradition. A.nationalreview. ‘Moral Hazard’.11017.Wahhabism in the United Kingdom 183 Alexiev. 2002. Cambridge. Guardian. V. Joly. 104–21. Manger (ed. in Fazlur Rahman (ed. M. V.). Saudi Arabia and the Politics of Dissent. Ebrahim Moosa. B. Detroit: al-Qur’an was-Sunnah Society of North America. A.783862. Riyadh: DarusSalam. pp. in A. Branigan. 1998. A. and Whitaker. trans. al-Masri. J. ed. ‘Salvation Army Boy who Converted to Campaign of Hate’. 1999. W. Guardian.). K. ‘The End of an Alliance: It’s Time to Tell the House of Saud Goodbye’. Basingstoke: Palgrave. paper presented at a conference on Transnational Connections with the Arab Gulf and Beyond. Hijackings and Suicide Bombings and an Advice to Usaamah ibn Laden from Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Baz. Oxford. Cambridge. Dodd. and intro. al-Azmeh. C. Gladney. Hardt. see http://www. Piscatori. . ‘Evolution of a Wahhabi University’. Ibn Baz. Revival and Reform in Islam: A Study of Islamic Fundamentalism.html (accessed 26 October 2001). Bristol: Amal 1982. Ph. B. Aldershot: Avebury. Islams and Modernities. September 2002. M. html (accessed 25 February 2003). F. Mirpuri. 1996. Guardian. 1998. 30–68. ‘Early Sects and the Formation of Islamic Orthodoxy’.guardian. al-‘Anbari. A. Birmingham. see http://www.902398. Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband. 102–49. Shaykh A. Minhajus Sunnah (Birmingham) 1 (November 2000).581147. 25 February 2003.asp (accessed 8 February 2003). 2000. C. al-Azmeh ( Rahman. 2001.

26 December 2001. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1996. Guardian. 2000. 2002. Werbner. R. Teitelbaum. ‘Whence Cometh the Law? Dog Saliva in Kelantan. G. Washington. see http://www. Imagined Diasporas among Manchester Muslims. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. A. 2002. pp. U. Kinship and Continuity: Pakistani Families in Britain. The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change. in S.624774. 1870–1920.). Delhi: Oxford University Press. 243–80. P. Roff. ‘Transnational Islam versus Ethnic Islam in Eastern Europe: The Role of the Media’. paper presented at a conference on Transnational Connections within the Arab Gulf and Beyond. 2002. ‘London’s Arab Media’. Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and across Europe. 2000. A History of Saudi Q. al-Yassini. 25–42. Yemelianova. P. Amsterdam: Harvard Academic Publishers.00. W. pp. 137–59. Oxford: SAR Press and James Currey. Shaw (ed. Leiden: E. 2003. pp.). 1937’. . DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Brill. S. Devotional Islam and Politics in British India: Ahmad Riza Khan Barelwi and his Movement. ‘Biradiri Solidarity and Cousin Marriage’.co. September 2002. J. Sanyal. Oxford. M. C. Shaw. Zaman. J. A. Ewing (ed. 1988.184 Jonathan Birt Al-Rasheed.11017. 1985. Boulder: Westview.html (accessed 26 December 2001). Holier than Thou: Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Opposition. Religion and State in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. in A. Staffand Agencies ‘Mosque Leader Warns over Extremist Converts’. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press. Nielsen (eds). Allievi and J. Sharí‘at and Ambiguity in South Asian Islam. in K. Salamandra.

177 ‘Abd al-Nabi Bushehri 49–50 ‘Abd al-Nabi Khan Safar 47. 173 Antoine Choueiri’s group 117. trade networks in Gulf 104–6 Afro-Asianism 104 Agha Muhammad Khalil 73 Agha Muhammad Rahim Safar 68. Ahmad al-Khalifah 43 ‘Abdullah Faysal 172. 172. 73. 70 ‘Abd al-Samad al-Falimbani 131 Abdülhamid Bey 22. 49 Al Jazeera 116–17. Western acquisition 112.Index ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Qusaybi 52 ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz 151. 77 Agha Muhammad Tahir al-Sharif 73 Ahl-i Hadith movement 171 Ahmad Abd al-Halim ibn Taymiyyah 158. 121 Antwerp 96 ARA 117 Arab Ad 114 Arab Digital Distribution see ART network Arab Gulf Cup 93 Arab Holding Company for Arts and Publishing (AHCAP) 121. 170 Africa: economic collapse 103–4. 66. 72. 122. 62. 161. 172 Al-Safar family see Safar family Al Sa‘ud 33. 169 Al-Barakat 102–3 Algerian Armed Islamic Group 161 Al-hawiyyah al-khalijiyyah (Gulf identity) 4. 171 Ahmad al-Khatib 132 Ahmad Khan Safar 68 Ahmad Syafi Maarif 140 ‘Ajam immigrants 39. 169–70 Al-Walid bin Talal bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz 121. 173 Abu Dhabi 77. 46–9. 122 . 162. marriages 46–7 Al-‘Ajam al-Kabir 52 Al-Amthal at-tasrif iyya 130 Al-Azhar University 131. 41. 1899 72 anti-colonialism: Dutch East Indies 131–3 anti-terrorism legislation: Britain 163. 72 Al-Khalijia 117 Al-Manara 122 Al-Masri. 173. Abu Hamza 162. 123 Al-Khalifa family 39. 168. 68. 27 ‘Abdullah Abu Julayja 25 ‘Abdullah b. 45. 118. 23. 76 ‘Abd al-Nabi Qalawwas Kazruni 49–50 ‘Abd al-Rasul bin Ahmad Safar 68 ‘Abd al-Rasul Safar 66. 158 Al Nahar Publications 121 Al-Qaeda 7. 69. 72. citizenship 53. education 52–3. expanding neighbourhoods 50–1. 177 Al-Mehwar 123 Al-Muhajiroun (Emigrants) 172 Al-Muntada al-Islami 157. production houses 118. 40. 115 Aeroflot 104 Afghanistan 156. 122 Al-Zarb family 61 Amsterdam 96 anational society 8 Anglo-Kuwaiti Exclusive Agreement. 103. 42–5. 93. 96. 98 advertising industry 112–13. 78–9 Al-Hayat 121 ‘Ali Akbar Bushehri 63 ‘Ali Akbar Pakrowan 52 ‘Ali Kazim Bushehri 44.

100 globalization 4–5. Dawud 172 Bushehr 45–6 Bushehri family 47. 119. 121 Ayatollah Khomeini 159 Azyumardi Azra 140 Bahrain 8. 28 hajj 2. 26. 139–40 Hajji Safar 64–5. 52 Faysal. security arrangements 105. 95. exports to Iraq 96–7. Westernization 78 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) 1. 94. 94. 72 Beirut 113 ‘Beirut-on-Thames’ 153 Berlewis 174. 174 Deobandis 174 dock workers 51 . 4. 154. 104. influence 2–3 Fadhil neighbourhood 50. trade ties 29–31 East India Company 66. 124 Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood 169 Einstein. political conditions 40–1. reasons for success 94. population 41 Bahraini ‘Ajams see ‘Ajam immigrants ‘Bahrainization’ 40 Bahrain Monetary Agency 101 Bakhtiyari tribe 48 BAPCO 40 barasti 51 Bayt Safar 64. 102. 154. 79. 121. 120. expatriates 1. 117. 163. 99 British Anti-terrorism Acts 163 British Asian Muslims see British Muslims British Muslims 10. hybridity 8. 2 Gulf War. 177–9. easy access 105. 48–9. 175 Birmingham 10. 101 Gulf Countries 1–3 Gulf studies 1. 170. 2003 141 ‘coolie nation’ 137 Dallah al-Baraka group 121 Darul Ulum 130 Davud S ¸antub. media industry 120. 94–5. heterogeneity 100. 62. 171–2. 26. 40. 79 Eastern Arabia 21–2. 177–8 Birmingham Central Mosque 175 Boulos. 130. 128. anti-colonialism 131–3 see also Indonesia Easa Saleh al-Gurg 60. 1990–1 160–1 gun smuggling affair 24. 106. Paul & Company 47 Gujarati community 98 Gulf Arabs: culture 78–9. Eastern see Eastern Arabia Arab Media Company 121 ARAMCO 34 ART network 113. 136–7. loyalty 173. 95. anti-Saudi feelings 159–62. exports to Iran 96. 173. 73 education: Persian immigrants 52 Egyptian: media industry 111. 112. Jean-Claude 112 Braudel. 66. 164. issue of visas 104–5. 169. McKenzie & Company 73 Gray. 68–9 camel racing 93 Centre for Indonesian Migrant Workers (CIMW) 137–8 Christians 25 Churchill. occupation 43. Yahudi Hoca 24–5 da’wah 150–1. 149. 161. state intervention 97 Dubai International Financial Centre 101 Dubai Shopping Festival 97 Dutch East Indies 129. 120. 99. African presence 103. Winston 156 civil war: Manamah 43 Coast Cup 93 Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. 111 Gray. Fernand 94. 123. 172. 99 ‘global city’ 9.186 Index Dubai 11. 68. 159. 7. 66 Hamad al-Majid 157 Hasa see Eastern Arabia Arabia. King 156 fidawiyyah 43 Finsbury Park Mosque 173 Florence 100 Football 93 Front Pembela Isla (Front of the Defenders of Islam) 140 funeral houses 48–9 Future TV 116 Genoa 96. movements 174–5 building contractors 49–50 Burbank. funding 154–8. 106–7. Peter 113 ‘European Muslims’ 162 expatriate labour 1.

107 MTV 121 . see also mukims International Advertising Association (IAA) 112 Iqbal Asaria 163 Iran: Islamic leadership 155. image 135–6. 121. Persian immigrants 45. abuse 135. law 44. 128. 114. slavery 130. resentment of Arab influence 140 see also Dutch East Indies Indonesian maids 133–5. 159 Islamic University of Medina 162. 44. 77–8. political influence 71–2. 133 Ibn Sa‘ud 33 Ihsan bin Muhammad Dahlan 130 ijazah 175 ikhwan 170 iltizam 32 Imam Muhammad ibn Sa‘ud University in Riyadh 170 immigrants 149 Indian trading community 25. Bahrain 43. history 42. 52. 46. British graduates 171. ruling family 42–3 Mansur Pasha 33 Marina Towers project 118 Ma‘sum Aly 130 Ma’tam al-‘Ajam al-Kabir 48–9. 44–5. 169 Iranian revolution 155 Isa b. Saudi visitors 153–4 Maghram al-Ghamdi 160 Mahmud Mahır Bey 28 Manamah 41. 48 Kerkuklu Mahmud 28 Khalid bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd al-Rahman 120. 172 Jam‘iyat Ihya’ Minhaj al-Sunnah ( JIMAS) 172 Jeddah 105 Jewish community 24–5 jihadi 172–3. 132. Saudi presence 151–2. 8–9. 171. Saudi exiles 161. 170. NGOs role 137–9 Laskar Jihad ( Jihad Troops) 140 LBC (satellite) 116. Christian Snouck 132. 141 Indonesian migrants 128. civil war 43. financiers 120–3. Western involvement 112. 45. Saudi funding 154–5. 121. 68 money laundering 100. polity 41–2. 75 Mirza Muhammad ‘Ali Safar 66. 156. 117. 171. 46 Indonesia: Islamization 139–40. 111–12. 160. Malcolm 72 Mecca 2. Arabization 139–40. 48–51. 120.Index hawalah groups 48 H&C 112 H&C-Leo Burnett 112 Hizb al-Tahrir (Liberation Party) 161. 105. 172 Hong Kong 97 Hormuz 42 human rights: implementation 141 Hurgronje. 123–4. records 63 Kanoo Group of Companies 63 187 Kanu neighbourhood 50 Kazruni family 47. 52 matrimonial alliances 47 Mawlana Mahmud Ahmad Mirpuri 171 MBC 116. 76–7 Middle East see Gulf Countries Midhat Pasha 23. 123 Lebanese: in advertising 9. 129–31. 133. 121 Khalid bin Sultan 121. 123 MBO 113 Meade. 133–4. 122 Khalid Kanoo 63 Khamis Mosque 50 King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz University 157 King Fahd Academy 156 King Fahd Holy Qur’an Printing Complex 156 labour migration 133–6. 115. Saudi influence 153. 115 merchant families 60. Islamic scholarship 132. 139 media industry 9–10. 156–7. 24 Minawiyyah district 51 Minhajul Abidin 130 Mirza Ahmad Khan Safar 69. 72 Islam 150 Islamic Cultural Centre 156–7. 26. 138–9. 71. 118–19 London 96. 6. 62. 112–13. contacts with Saudi Arabia 128. 177–8 Kalim Siddiqi 160 Kanoo family 62. 129. female 134 Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration 133 Indonesian Muslims 137. ‘Ali al-Khalifah 42–3.

133. 160 satellite television industry 111. 28. 69–71. scholarly works 129–30 mullahs 52 munshis 73–5 Muslim Minorities: Fatwa Regarding Muslims Living as Minorities 151 Muslim World League 154. 169 Revolutionary United Front 103 Richie. 155–6. 47–8. 169 Saudi hybrids 150 Mubarak al-Sabah 71 Muhammad ‘Abduh 132 Muhammad al-Ghazali 121. 48. 31. 1861 (Britain) 173 Omar Bakri Mohammed 172 ORBIT network 113. 117. Iranian branch 66–7. relations with British 72–6 Said Pasha 22–3. 66. Richard 172–3 religious groups: Ottoman period 23–6 religious networks. intermarriages 71. 120 Organization of the Islamic Conference ( Jeddah) 160 Osama bin Laden 140. Saudi 150–1. 48–9. Bahrain branch 65. 78. 169 Safar family 8. 74. 63. 53 Necd gendarmerie 27–8 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 169 Muhammad ‘Ali Safar 47 Muhammad al-Khalifah 51 Muhammad al-‘Uthaymin 151. 72 . The 154 Muzaffar al-Din Shah 45 Nadir Shah 42 Naja Abi Assi 117 Najd 33 Najdis 51. 24. 65 Muhammad Saddiq Safar 66 Muhammad Yassine 121 Muharraq 42 mukims 129. 161. 172 Q News 161–2 Qur’an 156 Rahmatullah bin Khalil al-‘Utsman 130 Regent’s Park Mosque 156–7 Reid. 159–64. Abu 162. 67. religious transnationalism 10. Iran 155–6. 155–6. 34 Saleh Kamel 121. 47. 150–1. 159–64. 52 Nasir al-Din Shah 45 Nasr al-Din al-Albani 170 Natanegara see Muhammad Muchtar bin Attarid Nationality and Property Law. Arab-Persian hybridity 65. 60. 128. migrants’ treatment 133–6. 170 Muhammad b. Manamah 42–3 Rushdie affair 159–60 Saddam Hussein 161. 79. Gulf based 2. Indonesian: role in labour migration 137–9 Offences Against the Person Act. relations with al-Khalifah 72. origin 64. 69 Muhammad Muchtar bin Attarid 132 Muhammad Najjar 157 Muhammad Rahim Safar 43. 26–7.188 Index Penguin Books 160 Perkumpulan Kemerdekaan Indonesia (Association for the Liberation of Indonesia) 131 Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta ( Riyadh) 158 ‘Persian cooly class’ 51 Persian Gulf Club 93 Persian immigrants see ‘Ajam immigrants pilgrimage see hajj property: Manamah 44–5 qal‘at al-bahrayn 42 Qatada. Ian 113 Risalah Qushayriyyah 174 Rotana 121 ruling family/ies 62. family tree 67. 113 Saudi Arabia: and Gulf War 160–1. 112 pan-Arab media financiers 120–1 pearling 43. 1937 42. Khalifah 43 Muhammad Hasan Safar 66 Muhammad Hassanein Heikal 121 Muhammad Jafar Safar 66. 169 Muslim World League Journal. Indonesian migration 8–9. 162 Pahlavi propaganda 52–3 Palestinian Hamas 161 pan-Arab market 111. 63. 29. political influence 71–2. 122 Salman Rushdie 159 Sarikat Islam 131–2 Satanic Verses 159. 161–2 religious transnationalism 7.

48. 75. 73. 172 Shah Wali Allah 171 Sharif family 47–8. 168–9. 52. Alexander 113 Zulum ‘Abad district 51 . 71. 130 state intervention 97–8 Sufi/sm 174. hubs 98. networks 149–50. 170–1. networks 104–6 transnationalism 5–6. 123 Zilo. 78–9. 175–6 Walid bin Ibrahim 120–1 Westernization 78 Who Wants to be a Millionaire 114 World Trade Organization ( WTO) 107 Yahudi Murad 25 Yusuf Makassar 131 Zainab Behbahani 75 Zaki Badawi 157 Zaydi al-Shawkani 171 Zaytun. 170. 154 UAE Central Bank 101 ulama 130. 149. 2001 attacks 161–2. 168. 64 Singapore 97–8 slave/slavery 6. relations with British 73. 150 United Nations 141 Venice 96. 105 ‘Shaykhs of Knightsbridge’ 153 Shi‘a Muslims 23. Gulf 3. Saudi 151. 120 terrorism 172–3 Tihama 121 ‘TKW nation’ 137 TKW (tenaga kerja wanita) see Indonesian maids 189 trade: Eastern Arabia 29–31. 140. see also religious transnationalism transnational networks. 172. 154 Shi‘i ‘Ajims 41. Manamah 43. President 137 Sunnis 48. 75 Sharjah 101. 175 Suharto. 7–11. 52 Suqayyah district 51 Surat 98 Talkies 113 tamthiliyyah 48 taqlid 171 tax system: Eastern Arabia 32–3 Télé Liban 121 television stations 116–17. 174–5 ummah 137. John 68 Zen TV 117. 45.Index Saudi Research Media Company 117 Sawt El Fan 121 Sawt Lubnan 121 September 11. neighbourhood 51 Shi‘i Arabs 62. 34. 26–7. 99 Victoria Memorial Hospital (Manamah) 50 visas 104–5 Wahhabi literature 171 Wahhabism 43.

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